Jon Lester will start Game 1 of the American League Championship Series for the Red Sox on Saturday night at Fenway Park. That decision came before the Tigers defeated the A’s, 3-0, Thursday night to advance to the ALCS. Detroit will start Anibal Sanchez, according to manager Jim Leyland.
The Sox starter for Sunday night’s Game 2 was not something manager John Farrell was ready to commit to until he had a chance to think more about the opponent.
“We’re undecided at this point,” Farrell said Thursday.
John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, and Jake Peavy followed Lester to the mound in the Division Series.
Of that group, Peavy had the best start against Tampa Bay and could start Sunday on his usual four days’ rest. Max Scherzer (21-3) could get the call in Game 2 for the Tigers.
Farrell said the opponent and the location of games would be considered.
“We’ll factor everything in that will be available to us and it starts with who we’re going to play,” he said.
Farrell is open to the idea of using one of the starters in relief late in the series if the need arises.
The Tigers got two innings out of Scherzer in Game 4 against the Athletics on Tuesday.
“Certainly open-minded to it, yes,” Farrell said. “But it’s going to be dependent upon usage of guys leading up to that, if we get into an extra-inning game, who’s available the next day, all those things that we would typically look at in the regular season.”
Farrell even volunteered the starter he might turn to.
“If you would ask Jake Peavy, he would thrive on the opportunity to come in out of the bullpen,” the manager said.
No roster changes
The Red Sox, Farrell said, will stick with the same 25-man roster they used in the Division Series. The only player who didn’t see any action against Tampa Bay was lefthander Felix Doubront, a starter turned long reliever.
“There was a review,” Farrell said. “Even when you get into a seven-game series versus a five-game [series], you’ve got one additional day off. There was a review but nothing glaring, no injury issues that would have prompted an adjustment.”
The Red Sox have three extra players — catcher Ryan Lavarnway, infielder John McDonald, and lefthander Matt Thornton — with the team and a small group of younger players working out at the team facility in Fort Myers, Fla.
Shane Victorino has been hit by a pitch 19 times in his last 48 games, including a record four times in the Division Series. His on-base percentage is .394 in those games.
Being hit so many times increased Victorino’s OBP by 18 percent over that stretch. It’s not something he’s trying to do.
“It ain’t fun,” Victorino said. “It’s just one of those things that happens. It is what it is. Obviously me being close to the plate, I get hit a lot.”
Victorino’s rate of being struck by pitches climbed dramatically once he started batting exclusively righthanded because of a sore left hamstring. He was hit only three times in his first 78 games.
Farrell and several of the coaches have speculated that righthanded pitchers, unaccustomed to seeing Victorino on that side of the plate, are working him inside.
“I don’t know what it is,” Victorino said. “I just know I get hit a lot.”
Jonny Gomes said the other players appreciate that Victorino takes a pounding and stays in the game.
“It’s not an easy thing to do. Not that there’s a method to getting hit, but in one way there is, because I mean you’ve seen him get hit quite a few times and he hasn’t broke a bone,” Gomes said. “I think it says a lot about this team to where you can truly say, any way to get on, we’ll get on.”
The X factor
When 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts drew two walks in Game 4 on Tuesday, he became the youngest AL player to walk twice in a postseason game since 19-year-old Mickey Mantle of the Yankees in Game 1 of the 1951 World Series.
“It’s pretty rare,” Dustin Pedroia said. “There would be a lot more 21-year-olds doing it if they could. He’s a pretty special guy.”
Daniel Nava saw 43 pitches in seven plate appearances in the Division Series. He was 1 for 5 with two walks and didn’t score a run but his impact on the two games he played in was significant . . . The Red Sox’ bullpen worked 11 innings in the series against the Rays, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out 12 . . . Tickets for Games 1, 2, 6, and 7 of a possible World Series at Fenway Park will be available via automated phone only (888-REDSOX6) beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday. No tickets will be available at the Fenway Park ticket office. There will be a four-ticket limit per fan for World Series games with prices ranging from $125 to $375.