Jackie Bradley Jr. Likely Won’t Make ALDS Roster and Other Red Sox Notes From Wednesday’s Workout/Sim Game

Torey Lovullo, John FarrellBOSTON — The wait is almost over. But not quite.

The Red Sox held another day of workouts Wednesday as they prepare for the start of their ALDS matchup. The action culminated with the Red Sox playing a six-inning intrasquad scrimmage in front of some eager fans at Fenway Park, and John Farrell officially announced after the contest that Jon Lester will get the start in Friday’s series opener.

The Red Sox haven’t finalized their ALDS roster yet, and they have until Friday at 10 a.m. to do so. There were some interesting notes to come from Wednesday’s day at the park, though, so read on for a snapshot of what transpired two days before playoff baseball officially returns to Boston.

  • Lester will start Game 1, as mentioned. (I’m sure you’re shocked.)

“He’s been outstanding in the second half, and the last eight starts that he’s put together for us, he’s been very strong and he’ll lead the way for us from a starting standpoint,” Farrell said.

  • John Lackey will take the ball in Game 2, and Farrell said that Lackey’s home/road splits were a “major factor” in the decision. Lackey went 6-3 with a 2.47 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 13 home starts this season, compared to 4-10 with a 4.48 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 16 road starts. So yeah, the move makes sense.
  • Clay Buchholz will start Game 3, and Jake Peavy will go Game 4 (if necessary). Buchholz seemed like a candidate to pitch Game 2, but the right-hander said Wednesday that he’s ready and willing to pitch whenever.
  • According to Farrell, the Red Sox will carry 11 pitchers on their ALDS roster. This is in line with what Farrell initially indicated after the Red Sox clinched a playoff berth.

“This is going back and forth with [general manager Ben Cherington] and others on what is the 25th player, who is it, how do I envision, how do we envision that person being used,” Farrell said Wednesday. “You start to get multiple moves down the line and then you begin to weigh what’s more important. To me, protecting the downside of something unforeseen happening on the mound, pitching-wise, I wanted to shore up that.”

  • Since the Red Sox are going with 11 pitchers, Jackie Bradley Jr. probably won’t have a roster spot. Quintin Berry, who can impact the game as a pinch runner in the later innings, will likely grab the final spot among position players.

“I wouldn’t say exclusively as a pinch-runner, but that’s why he was brought here, and that’s still the first and foremost attribute that we’ll look to use,” Farrell said of Berry. “If we get in a situation where the defensive side of it is needed, well, then we’ve got that to take advantage of. But if we’re looking at pinch-hit situations, we’ve got guys that we’re probably going to go to before him. [But] we haven’t been reluctant to [use Berry in other roles].”

Farrell said that the Red Sox are most comfortable with Berry in center field, although the speedy outfielder made a terrific diving catch in right field during the third inning of Wednesday’s sim game to rob Dustin Pedroia.

  • So who gets the final bullpen spot?

It’s going to come down to either Matt Thornton or Felix Doubront. Thornton appeared to have the inside track on the spot after Doubront got shelled in Baltimore on Sunday, but Doubront pitched in Wednesday’s intrasquad game while Thornton worked on the side. (Doubront struck out two in a perfect inning.)

Doubront’s appearance in Wednesday’s sim game doesn’t mean that he’s guaranteed the final roster spot, and this could actually be an instance of reading too much into nothing. But at the very least, Doubront’s name is still in the conversation.

  • Speaking of the intrasquad game, 3,900 fans stopped by to catch the action at Fenway Park.
  • The game was rather interesting, too. One team wore red jerseys, and the other team wore blue jerseys — or so it seemed at the beginning. The jerseys eventually meant nothing, though, as there was often a little bit of both scattered on the field.
  • Buchholz, Peavy, Lackey, Craig Breslow, Koji Uehara, Franklin Morales, Doubront and Brandon Workman all pitched in the game.

Buchholz and Peavy went three innings each. Peavy struck out the first four batters he faced — Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli.

  • Farrell has said all year that having David Ross around is like having a second manager. The veteran catcher played the role of pitching coach Wednesday. He made a mound visit with Breslow on the bump.
  • Ross also tested his luck at first base in the game’s final inning, while fellow backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia played an inning at third base. The two could be heard shouting across the diamond at each other.

See, told you this game was interesting.

Saltalamacchia drove in the only run with an RBI double to right field. Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Carp each had a double to center field, while Bradley picked up two hits.

  • Wednesday’s intrasquad game was about getting up to “game speed,” fine-tuning some things before Friday’s ALDS opener and getting the pitchers some work. But it also gave the Red Sox’ position players an opportunity to see what kind of shadows they might be dealing with come Friday. Wednesday’s simulated game started at 3 p.m., which is right in line with Friday’s scheduled start time.
  • The Red Sox will work out again Thursday. We now know that they’ll play the Rays in the ALDS, as Tampa Bay downed Cleveland 4-0 in Wednesday’s wild card game.

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

Yardbarker

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 187,398 other followers