Red Sox’s Far­rell con­fi­dent in pitch­ing staff

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Kyle Hightower

Red Sox man­ager John Far­rell is in no hurry to fi­nal­ize his post­sea­son ros­ter and pitch­ing staff for Bos­ton’s Amer­i­can League Divi­sion Se­ries against Cleve­land.

He has un­til Thurs­day morn­ing and he plans on tak­ing ev­ery minute he can be­fore then to mull it over.

There aren’t ex­pected to be many surprises regarding po­si­tion play­ers, but the start­ing pitch­ing ro­ta­tion for Bos­ton’s open­ing se­ries could fea­ture a four­some that has yet to reg­is­ter a post­sea­son vic­tory as a starter.

Far­rell pre­vi­ously said that Rick Por­cello and David Price would start Games 1 and 2. Clay Buch­holz and Ed­uardo Ro­driguez are ex­pected to pitch Games 3 and 4, but Far­rell wouldn’t con­firm that prior to his team’s work­out Tues­day.

“We haven’t an­nounced that of­fi­cially yet, but we’ve had some dis­cus­sions in­ter­nally. So we’re still wait­ing to an­nounce that,” Far­rell said. “We feel con­fi­dent with all four starters that we have. So that’s where we are.”

Price has the length­i­est post­sea­son start­ing re­sume among the pre­sumed four, go­ing 0-7 in his eight starts with a 5.27 ERA. Por­cello is 0-1 in two play­off starts, pitch­ing 12 2/3 in­nings. Buch­holz has made five play­off starts, but has yet to reg­is­ter a de­ci­sion al­low­ing 12 earned runs and reg­is­ter­ing a 4.21 ERA over his 25 2/3 in­nings. Ro­driguez has yet ap­pear in the post­sea­son.

Buch­holz ac­knowl­edged that there is a lot for this group to prove, but said they’re ea­ger to let their per­for­mances take care of that.

“Ev­ery­body’s gotta win their first one be­fore they can win their sec­ond one,” he said. “I think there’s only a cou­ple of us that have had more than five op­por­tu­ni­ties to win a game in the post­sea­son. Por­cello’s go­ing Game 1 and ev­ery­body knows what he’s done this year. I don’t think any­thing’s gonna change from that.”

Price was anointed as Bos­ton’s staff ace when he signed a seven-year, $217 mil­lion con­tract as a free agent dur­ing the off­sea­son. But it was Por­cello that es­tab­lished him­self as the team’s most con­sis­tent arm, with a 3.15 ERA and lead­ing the ma­jors with 22 wins.

Knuck­le­baller Steven Wright had a strong year with 13 wins, but con­tin­ues to work his way back from a right shoul­der strain that will keep him side­lined for at least the open­ing se­ries.

Af­ter a 7-1 start to the sea­son, Price went through some grow­ing pains which in­cluded him again work­ing to fix a hitch in his de­liv­ery. He fi­nally caught a grove, and had a stretch be­gin­ning in mid-Au­gust that saw him win seven straight starts.

Price al­lowed one run and four hits, walk­ing three and strik­ing out four in five in­nings in the reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale against Toronto.

Buch­holz said he isn’t wor­ried about Price be­ing able to pro­duce.

“Like I said in spring train­ing, we have one of the best pitch­ers in the world that we just signed this year,” he said. “DP’s gonna step up and do what he does. I think that how’s ev­ery­body else is gonna fol­low, too.”

Another off­sea­son ad­di­tion, closer Craig Kim­brel, missed 18 games this sea­son with a menis­cus tear in his left knee. He re­turned from the dis­abled list on Au­gust 1 and had 14 saves in 14 save op­por­tu­ni­ties. But he en­ters the play­offs with losses in two of his last three ap­pear­ances, is­su­ing six walks while com­plet­ing two in­nings.

Kim­brel threw a bullpen ses­sion on Mon­day “to con­tinue to work on work on the things that are main­te­nance things,” Far­rell said.

“We are all aware of some of the in­con­sis­ten­cies on the re­cent out­ings. But this wasn’t a ma­jor de­liv­ery ad­just­ment,” Far­rell said. “This is a mat­ter of con­tin­u­ing to re­pro­duce the di­rec­tion and stand be­hind the base­ball more con­sis­tently. So there’s no change in who’s our closer. It’s Craig Kim­brel.”

NOTES: Pres­i­dent of base­ball op­er­a­tions Dave Dom­browski was the ar­chi­tect of bring­ing both Price and Kim­brel to Bos­ton. Far­rell had noth­ing but praise for him a year into the job. “The play­ers he’s brought in, the trades that have been made, have had a ma­jor im­pact on our ros­ter to date,” Far­rell said. He said Dom­browski has a style that is unique to him. “Dave’s so present with us. He has a di­rect and very cur­rent feel for what our team’s go­ing through. It al­lows our con­ver­sa­tions to be free flow­ing, and with­out much catch up be­cause it’s ever present and it’s mul­ti­ple times a day. He has such a long his­tory in this game and a suc­cess­ful one, and has not shown any res­o­nance or re­stric­tion to make big deals to make a big im­pact. And that’s on this ros­ter again.”

Fol­low Kyle Hightower on Twit­ter at http://www. twit­ter.com/khigh­tower

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