Red Sox manager John Farrell has been unshakably loyal to Stephen Drew this season, and with good results. Drew had a two-run homer in Thursday’s 3-1 victory against Baltimore.
The shortstop is hitting only .248 but has a .772 OPS, third among American League shortstops. His 64 RBIs are tied for third. Drew also had his seventh triple on Thursday.
But Drew’s weakness against lefthanded pitching has Farrell reconsidering the boundaries of that loyalty.
The Sox had runners on first and second with one out in the 11th inning against Baltimore on Wednesday night. Drew was the scheduled hitter against lefthander T.J. McFarland.
Drew was 0 for 6 with five strikeouts against McFarland but was allowed to hit. He grounded into a double play in a game the Red Sox went on to lose, 5-3 in 12 innings.
Drew is hitting .183 with a .568 OPS against lefthanders this season. That drops to .162 with a .537 OPS in 80 plate appearances against lefthanded relievers.
On Thursday, Farrell said the idea of pinch hitting for Drew against lefthanders late in games would be discussed.
“Going forward, when there’s maybe more of a sense of urgency with postseason situations, I’m sure that’ll be something Stephen and I will talk through well in advance when that situation may come up again,” the manager said.
“I’m well aware of what Stephen is doing against lefthanded pitching. But there might be a time for that.”
Farrell’s revelation indicates the Red Sox plan to keep rookie Xander Bogaerts on the postseason roster.
A righthanded hitter, Bogaerts is 6 for 12 against lefthanders since being called up. He hit .289 against lefthanders with a .926 OPS while with Triple A Pawtucket.
Shane Victorino was out of the lineup with a sore right thumb. He came out of the game on Wednesday night before his final at-bat.
“I’m not talking about that right now,” he said.
Victorino has been out of four of the last 10 games because of various injuries. Given that he is hitting .330/.402/.557 in his last 43 games, that’s a concern.
“Shane’s day-to-day right now,” Farrell said. “He came out last night a little bit sore in that right thumb. We have no other updates as of today.”
Farrell said the recent days off for Victorino have been to manage injuries. But he expressed no worry.
“He does need some time right now to get ahead of it,” Farrell said. “But there’s not an overriding concern that he’s not going to be available.”
Score this one a joke
Back in 2011, David Ortiz burst into Terry Francona’s pregame meeting with the media to complain about a call the official scorer at Fenway Park made the night before that cost him an RBI.
The incident made national news and was part of a messy season for the Sox.
So you can imagine the surprise when the door to the interview room burst open on Thursday and it was Big Papi again.
“Hey,” he said. “That scorer they got here is full of it.”
Then Ortiz smiled.
“I’m just [messing] with you all,” he said before ducking out.
The Red Sox are lining up their rotation for the final eight games. Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and Felix Doubront will start this weekend against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Jake Peavy will start against the Rockies in Colorado on Tuesday. No starter has been named for Wednesday. John Lackey, Lester, and Buchholz will pitch the final series at Baltimore, although no order has been announced.
The Sox have not named a Game 1 starter for the postseason. But Lester is the likely choice.
The Red Sox had pitching prospects Matt Barnes, Henry Owens, and Anthony Ranaudo at Fenway Park this week for a series of meetings designed to aid their development.
“They were here for a couple of days. We got them exposed to some of the things that our pitchers go through,” Farrell said. “Both in terms of a team advance [scouting] report and a pitcher-catcher meeting to see how it’s applied in game.”
The amount of scouting information a major league pitcher gets far exceeds that in the minors. The trio watched two games from the stands to get a sense of how that information was used.
Barnes and Ranaudo ended the season with Pawtucket and Owens with Double A Portland.
“That might serve as the best benefit in all of this, as reminder to them how close they are,” Farrell said. “Having outlined some of the specifics that the individual guy needs to be consistent with, just to try to draw closer their inevitable arrival here.”
Farrell and pitching coach Juan Nieves joined in the meetings. Farrell helped run a similar program when he was a player development executive with the Cleveland Indians.
No update on Ellsbury
There was little to report on Jacoby Ellsbury, out now 12 games with a fractured bone in his right foot. “He’ll stay the course. We’re not at the point of initiating any baseball activity yet. Improvement’s being made but it’s more on the physical side of things,” Farrell said . . . Cuban first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu has established residency in Haiti and has been unblocked by the United States government, according to MLB.com. The next step would be for Major League Baseball to declare him a free agent. The Red Sox are one of the teams that have scouted Abreu . . . Jonny Gomes was on the field punting a football before batting practice. One boot sailed from center field to behind the plate. Will Middlebrooks and Ryan Dempster then tossed the ball around . . . Jarrod Saltalamacchia has 37 doubles. The franchise season record for a catcher is 39 by Carlton Fisk (1978) and Jason Varitek (1999) . . . It was Law Enforcement Night at Fenway and the officers honored included some involved in the capture of the Marathon bombers.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com.