Red Sox Report: Home Field Advantage Crucial For Sox
Last week the Red Sox clinched the American League East for the first time since 2007. What could be next? Well, with four games left in the regular season the Red Sox sights are on home field advantage in the American League. These games still matter. After a loss last night to the Rockies in Colorado the Red Sox were rooting for the Angels to beat the A’s so Oakland would not gain a game on the Red Sox. The Angels won, keeping the A’s behind the Sox one game for best record in the league. The A’s play one more with the Angels while the Sox play one more with the Rockies, with an off day for both teams to follow on Thursday. The A’s close out the season in Seattle, while the Red Sox close out against the Orioles in Baltimore. The Orioles will come to play, even if they have been eliminated from Wild Card contention.
Jake Peavy is on the mound tonight for the Sox and I look for him to pitch well. He has done well against National League teams since coming over to the Sox in July with starts against the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Giants. Peavy having pitched in San Diego, is familiar with the National League West and I believe his success will continue tonight as long as the offense can score some runs off the Rockies best starter, in my opinion, Jhoulys Chacin.
Last night John Lackey did not do great and continued to get no run support. Lackey should start game two of the division series at home. He is a better pitcher at Fenway Park and Buchholz in game three is no cake walk for the opponent. Brandon Workman gave up three runs of his own last night leaving John Farrell scratching his head on where Workman fits on this playoff roster. It is apparent he isn’t cut out for the eight inning and even the seventh inning. Craig Breslow should be the eight inning guy as he gets righties out as well as lefties. Junichi Tazawa seems to be breaking down with his velocity not as good as April and May and seems to give up a home run every other appearance. John Farrell has showed faith in Tazawa all season, maybe his faith with be rewarded.
Jacoby Ellsbury is expected to make his return to the Red Sox lineup tonight which will provide a jolt to the offense if he is healthy. He will reclaim the lead off spot that Pedroia and Victorino shared during his absence as they can go back to second and third in the lineup where they were all season. If Ellsbury proves healthy these last four games the Red Sox might be able to carry an extra pitcher on the playoff roster with Jackie Bradley Jr. being left off the roster. Mike Napoli just got three days off for his foot issue and is expected to play first tonight after David Ortiz played first base last night.
With an off day Thursday the Sox will have a rested bullpen going into Baltimore as some arms will be trying to cement their spot on the playoff roster. Ryan Dempster has been moved to the bullpen and with his experience as a closer I feel it will benefit the whole bullpen with him out there. Uehara was not expected to be this good and was the fourth option to close at the beginning of this season. Others will have to step up should the bullpen be called upon. The rotation will be expected to get out of the sixth of seventh innings in the playoffs and John Farrell can get creative with match ups when needed.
Four games remaining on the regular season for the Red Sox and it would be great if they could win them all and clinch home field. Buck Showalter’s Orioles are not just going to lay down however and tonight’s game against the Rockies I feel is a must win type game. The Orioles always play the Red Sox tough, has been like that for a while. Oakland plays better at home as do the Red Sox so achieving home field advantage is something Red Sox fans should value as huge.