Pomer­anz takes a turn

Lefty un­able to cel­e­brate, rest

Boston Herald - - BASEBALL SCOREBOARD - By JA­SON MASTRODONATO Twit­ter: @JMas­trodonato

Most start­ing pitch­ers head home early the night be­fore their start, opt­ing for suf­fi­cient rest and re­lax­ation to help them pre­pare.

Last night, Drew Pomer­anz chose not to go home.

The Red Sox en­tered last night’s game against the Hous­ton Astros one win away from cel­e­brat­ing an AL East ti­tle and Pomer­anz wanted to be there to spray the cham­pagne.

In­stead, the Sox suf­fered a 3-2 loss and will have to try again today, when Pomer­anz takes the mound.

“I couldn’t leave,” Pomer­anz said. “It’s like, it was a quick game any­way. It’s not like it was get­ting over at mid­night. I couldn’t leave.” His work­load near­ing a ca­reer high, Pomer­anz’ shrink­ing ve­loc­ity is only more rea­son for the Red Sox to try and rest their clear-cut No. 2 starter be­fore the play­offs be­gin. But with an­other loss last night, and the New York Yan­kees win­ning, the Sox will have to start Pomer­anz for today’s game.

Pomer­anz, whose only post­sea­son ex­pe­ri­ence came in the form of two re­lief out­ings for the Sox last year, said today’s start will be one of the big­gest games of his ca­reer.

“I guess, yeah, but all th­ese games have been big,” he said. “We’re in a good po­si­tion here. With two games left, let’s try to keep it sim­ple out there.”

Pomer­anz will be up against Astros right-han­der Lance McCullers (7-3, 4.01 ERA).

“It is what it is,” Pomer­anz said. “It’s just a game when it comes down to it. Have to go out there and keep things sim­ple and make pitches. They’re a good team, ob­vi­ously, but our divi­sion is pretty good. We’re pretty much fac­ing good teams every time out.”

Keep an eye on the radar gun.

While he’s pre­dom­i­nantly known for a curve­ball that he throws 37 per­cent of the time, his fast­ball has ac­tu­ally been his best pitch this sea­son, hold­ing op­po­nents to a .223 av­er­age.

He was av­er­ag­ing 92-93 mph on his heater dur­ing July and Au­gust, but that av­er­age dropped to 90-91 mph in his first few starts in Septem­ber and fell to 88-89 mph over his most re­cent two out­ings.

“Even when it was down three or four starts ago I’ve still been blow­ing it by th­ese guys with the same ve­loc­ity,” Pomer­anz said. “It’s more just about lo­ca­tion and pitch us­age at this point, as far as mix­ing it up.”

Pomer­anz con­tin­ues to say his body feels fine, though he hasn’t been a poster boy for per­fect health over the past 12 months. He had a stem cell shot in his el­bow in the off­sea­son, spent 10 days on the dis­abled list with a flexor strain in his fore­arm in early April, walked off the mound with a tri­ceps in­jury once in spring train­ing and an­other time in May and again walked off the mound with an in­jury in Au­gust, this time due to back spasms.

Sale in limbo

Chris Sale is still sched­uled to start to­mor­row, but will likely be skipped if the divi­sion is clinched.

Lefty Roe­nis Elias and righty Hec­tor Ve­lazquez are the two likely can­di­dates to take Sale’s start if the Red Sox de­cide to rest him. Both were start­ing in Triple-A Paw­tucket be­fore they were called up when ros­ters ex­panded in Septem­ber.

Prior to this se­ries, the Sox hadn’t faced the Astros since June and would pre­fer not to show them their best two start­ing pitch­ers, given the teams are likely to play again in the Divi­sion Se­ries next week.

“The sched­ule is what it is,” Far­rell said. “I mean, it’s gonna lend to a lot more fa­mil­iar­ity, par­tic­u­larly with a team that is out­side your divi­sion. We get 19 games against ev­ery­body within it. This’ll be a highly con­densed num­ber of games in a short pe­riod of time. So we’ll know a lot about them be­fore this is all said and done.”

JBJ grabs seat

Jackie Bradley Jr. snapped a six-game hit­less streak with a 1-for-4 per­for­mance on Thurs­day. Last night, he was on the bench.

Against Astros righty Char­lie Mor­ton, Far­rell wanted to give Bradley a day off.

“There’s been at times a lit­tle bit of a chase out­side of the strike zone,” Far­rell said. “And I talked with Jackie a few days ago, that we’re try­ing to get him a day down, but then Mookie (Betts) had the hand is­sue. And it just so hap­pens it comes today against Mor­ton, who has got re­verse splits in his own way.”

Ra­jai Davis went 1-for-3 with a run scored in Bradley’s ab­sence.

Er­ratic Dev­ers

Af­ter hit­ting .224 with a .569 OPS in 26 games from Aug. 20 to Sept. 17, Rafael Dev­ers looked to be back on track with a five-game hit­ting streak, in which he home­red twice, lead­ing into the homestead.

He was 1-for-4 with a dou­ble last night and is just 2-for-19 in his last five games.

“I think when you look at Raffy’s time here, the two months he’s been there, he makes a big splash when he en­ters, the league starts to coun­ter­act that, then he’s able to do some things to ad­just ac­cord­ingly,” Far­rell said. “I think we’ve found that some pe­ri­odic days off his feet have ben­e­fited him. And yet all the while, we’re talk­ing about a 20-year-old young man who’s still ad­just­ing to the league.” …

Chris­tian Vazquez was a late scratch from the lineup and was re­placed by Sandy Leon. Ac­cord­ing to Far­rell, the de­ci­sion was not re­lated to any in­jury.


PITCH­ING IN: David Price went 12⁄3 in­nings of score­less re­lief last night, strik­ing out a pair as the Red Sox dropped a 3-2 de­ci­sion to the Astros at Fen­way.

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