Game 2 pregame notes

October, 9, 2009

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- We just emerged from manager Terry Francona's pregame meeting, and here are a few notes.

•The lineup remained the same as Game 1, with the exception of Josh Beckett pitching instead of Jon Lester. The Red Sox will fly back to Boston after Friday night's game and should land some time around 9 a.m. There is a chance Lester will throw a side session at Fenway Park on Saturday, which would set him up to pitch Game 4 on Monday night.

"I think we'd like to bring him back," Francona said. "That would allow Beckett to pitch Game 5. We've got to get through tonight and if Lester is OK & and if not we'll throw Daisuke [Matsuzaka]. That was sort of the plan all along."

•With Victor Martinez catching Beckett Friday night, it is unlikely Jason Varitek will start any games in this series. Francona was asked about the difficult situation and how's he handled it with the team's 37-year-old captain. Francona said Varitek approached him and asked what his role would be.

"He was kind of telling me not to tip-toe around it and maybe I was," Francona said. "He was just telling me, 'I'm a big boy' I think that really helped me. He's been terrific he's tried to do anything in his power to [help us] win."

Martinez caught Beckett three times during the regular season, compared to Varitek's 27 times. It's a small sample size (just 81 plate appearances), but Beckett's OPS-against with Martinez behind the plate (1.021) is considerably higher than what it was for Varitek (.625, in 742 plate appearances).

Francona said he considered starting Varitek, but that would mean taking Mike Lowell's bat out of the lineup.

"I don't think that makes us a better team," Francona said.

J.D. Drew has batted all over Francona's lineup this season, but for the first two games of the postseason, he's been hitting eighth. Francona was asked whether he had an affinity to placing Drew that low in the lineup.

"The way it's spread out gives us some balance," Francona said. "We're trying to maximize what our guys can do and minimize what they can't."

Drew, who has a 1.607 OPS in 11 games in the 8th spot, hits in between Lowell and Alex Gonzalez, two righthanded bats. Despite having to face two lefties in Games 3 and 4, Drew will likely start both games, though Francona hasn't said that decision is final.

•With Boston's four hits and three errors last night, Francona was asked if it was a strange game.

"It was a weird game," Francona said. "You look on the scoreboard and there were some errors & Gonzo's play was a great one. CB made an error."

Francona is of course referring to first-base umpire CB Bucknor, who, it seemed, missed two calls that went against the Red Sox on Thursday night. Bucknor will be behind the plate for Friday night's game.



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?