Red Sox Using Simulated Game to Ramp Up Intensity, Replicate ‘Game Speed’ Before ALDS Opener

Will MiddlebrooksBOSTON — The Red Sox aren’t exactly sitting around with their feet up.

Four days separate Sunday’s regular season finale and Friday’s ALDS opener. While the break presents an opportunity for the Red Sox to get some rest, the club also seems to understand the importance of staying in game mode while the Rays and Indians vie for an opportunity to play Boston in a best-of-five series.

The Red Sox worked out at Fenway Park on Tuesday. They’re scheduled to do so again Wednesday and Thursday, with Wednesday’s practice involving a simulated game that will even feature umpires. Manager John Farrell said Tuesday that Wednesday’s sim game probably won’t last nine innings, but he also didn’t put an innings limit on the contest, which will be open to the public.

“One of the three days to try to get as close to game speed as we can reproduce here,” Farrell said. “Certainly, we can’t reproduce any kind of environment any teams going through a normal game will experience, but it’s also a chance for our players that are dealing with some things from a physical standpoint to get ahead of them as best possible and get everyone primed and ready to go for Friday.”

Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy are scheduled to pitch multiple innings during Wednesday’s workout, which means that they’ll likely pitch Games 3 and 4 of the ALDS — even though Farrell didn’t make any official announcements regarding his rotation. Wednesday’s plan also calls for a bulk of the Red Sox’ relievers to see action.

“There’s going to be some guys that we’ll probably elect not to face our own pitchers, but again, the more we can either get them on the field and read some balls off the bat in as a live a game situation as we can, that’s part of getting everything back to game speed,” Farrell said.

While Wednesday’s simulated game will give the Red Sox a chance to ramp up intensity during their three days of workouts, Farrell noted that it’s still difficult to replicate certain situations. For one, the atmosphere won’t be quite as electric as it will be when Boston hosts its first playoff game since 2009 on Friday. But despite the challenges that come with a four-day break between actual games and not knowing their opponent until late Wednesday night, Farrell and Co. are looking at the situation in a positive light.

“I think more than anything we’ve put ourselves into a very good position, and that’s over the course of 162. Our guys have earned that,” Farrell said Tuesday. “We’re in a little bit of a different format because of the number of days off here, but it’s rewarding for all of us to say that we’ve won a division and we’ve been able to maintain home-field advantage. Those are two things that I think, as we begin this postseason, sit well with us. And I know by Friday this group will be chomping at the bit to get on the field.”

The Red Sox will play the winner of Wednesday’s American League wild card game between the Indians and Rays. The Sox should be well-rested and, if all goes according to plan, as prepared as they’ve been all season.

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

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