Sean Casey on M&M: 'I think getting that top seed's big' for Red Sox

September 24, 2013 - 10:23 am

Former Red Sox first baseman and current MLB Network analyst Sean Casey joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the importance of the Boston securing the best record in the American League, as well as the importance of team chemistry and experience once October baseball starts up. Casey said that it is key for Boston, which holds a one-game lead for the best record in the American League over Oakland, to secure that top seed and avoid playing another division champion in the ALDS. "I think getting that top seed's big, to play the wild card," Casey said. "I'd much rather play Tampa or Cleveland than maybe have to face Detroit in the first round and have to go against [Justin] Verlander, [Max] Scherzer, and [Anibal] Sanchez and that lineup. So I think that [John] Farrell's thinking that, too." Casey also talked about the great character of Boston's clubhouse this season and how vital that chemistry is during grinding playoff series. "Great character. Listen, a guy that probably doesn't get enough credit that I know is big in that clubhouse is Ryan Dempster, because I played with him for a couple of years and man, this guy is one of the funniest human beings alive and he's just such a great guy. ... Bringing in Jonny Gomes and bringing in [Mike] Napoli and the whole beard thing they've got going on, and [Shane] Victorino, there's some great guys on that team. ... "You play 162 games together, you better get along and you better have some fun doing it. It looks like those guys are on the 12-year-old travel All-Star team," Casey said. Come postseason time, I think that stuff matters a lot, because you know you've got the other guy's back, you know you're going to play hard for those guys and play hard for that city and for Farrell over there in the dugout. I think that stuff matters, that chemistry matters." Casey added that the Red Sox' veteran roster will be huge in the postseason. "I think it's a big deal. I think it's a big deal just because when it comes time in that pressure situation in the eighth and ninth inning, you've got the bases loaded and two outs, a big situation, fans are on their feet, and if you've been there and done that,  then you know the demeanor that you're supposed to have," Casey said. "But if it's your first time, then sometimes you get caught up in the moment, caught up in that emotion, and maybe a little anxiety sets in and you don't end up performing well." Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at On the strength of the Red Sox rotation in the postseason: "I think obviously, when you're talking [Jon] Lester, he could shut down anybody. [John] Lackey has really come back and had a great year. [Clay] Buchholz has obviously had that shutdown-type stuff, and [Jake] Peavy is one of the greatest competitors this game has seen in the last 10 years, so you're talking about four workhorses right there. ... I think they're a huge reason Boston's been so successful this year." On whether he agrees that a team's bullpen is valued even higher in the postseason: "I agree. ... All these teams are there because they've got great starting pitchers, so you're going to match that up, the stars are going to match up and obviously their lineups are going to do what they do because most of these teams can hit. It's going to come down to when those stars come out of the game, do you have a shutdown-type 'pen, and can those guys slam the door and get to [Koji] Uehara when you need to in the ninth." On whether people are underestimating the A's and their playoff chances: "These are former Red Sox guys, too, [Jed] Lowrie, [Brandon] Moss. It's been great to see Jed Lowrie do what he's been doing, finally getting a chance to play every day and ... finally got a healthy season. You see Moss, he's hit almost 30 home runs, you've got to be kidding me, and Josh Donaldson, man, this guy is possibly the MVP of the American League. He's in the conversation, obviously, you know he's been hitting over .300 all year long and driving in big runs for them. And don't forget about [Yoenis] Cespedes, who rakes. "These guys, listen, the one thing about Oakland is they can beat you with one swing of the bat. They can go through a whole game, not do anything, and boom, put three runs on the board in a hurry, so it's a dangerous lineup."