Red Sox manager John Farrell declined to name his rotation for the American League Division Series. But he did reveal that Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy would pitch in the intrasquad game at Fenway Park Wednesday afternoon.
“You can deduct from that what you wish,” he said.
In that case, feel free to assume that Jon Lester will start Game 1 Friday, with John Lackey following in Game 2 Saturday. Then Buchholz and Peavy will follow.
The Red Sox will not know their opponent until Wednesday night when Cleveland hosts Tampa Bay in the AL wild-card game. But how their rotation lines up is not contingent on the opposition.
Lester was 15-8 with a 3.75 earned run average. The lefthander earned the Game 1 start by going 7-2 with a 2.57 ERA in 13 starts after the All-Star break.
Lackey (10-13, 3.52) was 6-3 with a 2.47 ERA in 13 starts at home, so starting Game 2 makes sense for him.
“I think the rotation couldn’t be any better than what it sets up,” Peavy said. “Jonny Lester’s been the horse here all year. He’s made every one of his starts. He led his team in innings; he pitched as well as anybody the second half in baseball. He deserves to be the guy going out there.”
Said Farrell, “The biggest thing for Jon was to get back to the consistency that he’s shown for a number of years here. That exudes confidence for him and I think when others look to him and watch him on the mound, I think we all gain confidence from every starting pitcher that goes out and keeps a game under control.
“He’s done it very consistently, particularly in the second half. When he walks to the mound, we feel pretty good about our chances that night.”
Buchholz said he would pitch one or two innings Wednesday, as preparation for his start Monday in Game 3. Peavy could go a little longer given that his last start came Sept. 25 in Colorado.
If Game 4 were necessary, it would be Tuesday.
Come on in
Wednesday’s workout will be open to the public and is free.
Gate D will open at 2 p.m. and the workout is expected to last three or four hours. The sections between the bases will be open. Concession stands will be open and no tickets are required.
Entertainment for children will include face painters (specializing in beards) and balloon artists.
Farrell likes the idea of fans being at the workout.
“It’s more of a gesture to those who have stood by us throughout the course of time and give them an opportunity to be presented something unique,” he said. “Maybe in some small way, an indirect way, a thank you.”
To replicate the start time on Friday, the intrasquad game will start at 3:07 p.m. Farrell does not expect it to go nine innings.
The Sox went through a spring training-type workout Tuesday, going through some defensive drills that included the pitchers before taking batting practice.
Napoli feels good
Mike Napoli sat out four games after the Red Sox clinched the AL East, played three games, and now will have four days off before playing again.
The first baseman said the troublesome plantar fasciitis in his left foot has largely abated.
“It’s going to help it a lot,” he said. “It was kind of bothering me a little bit at the end of the season. Just trying to get to where we clinched so I could get some time off.
“I was able to get back in Baltimore and felt pretty good, felt better. These four days here just taking it easy will help out tremendously.”
Farrell said there is no disadvantage in the Sox waiting to find out which team they will play. Their scouting reports on every contending team were extensive.
“We’ve got meetings scheduled for Thursday morning and that would encompass any team that we’re going to play,” he said. “The fact that’s not going to be determined until [Wednesday] night, we’re more than prepared to shift according to who it is.”
As a former Indians player and executive, Farrell is happy to see Cleveland back in the postseason after a five-year drought. He sent a congratulatory text message to manager Terry Francona.
“I think because you have past experiences with many people, you want the best for them,” Farrell said. “There’d be an incredible amount of side stories if we do meet up with them in the Division Series.
“In some ways it’s reminiscent of the ALCS in ’07 [between the Red Sox and Indians]. There’s so much crossover that still exists between people that have worked either starting in Cleveland and then coming here and now it’s in some ways reversed with Tito going back there and leading their team. Hopefully, we’ve got a chance to meet up.”
Gear is here
The Red Sox arrived Tuesday to find new red sweat shirts with the 2013 postseason logo hanging in their lockers. They also have a new cap with the logo on the side . . . Four players who were called up in September — infielder Brock Holt and righthanders Brayan Villarreal, Allen Webster, and Steven Wright — were sent home. Some of the players not on the playoff roster may get sent to the team complex in Fort Myers, Fla., to continue working out in case of emergency . . . Rookie infielder Xander Bogaerts turned 21 Tuesday . . . Farrell is the first manager in his first full season with a new team to finish at least tied for the best record in baseball since Bill Virdon of the Pirates in 1972 . . . The Red Sox finished with a run differential of plus-197. It was the best in baseball and the best for the Red Sox since the 1950 team finished plus-210.