How the Red Sox match up against Tigers rotation in ALCS

David Ross and Mike Carp off the bench have been a major reason for the Red Sox' success this season.
David Ross and Mike Carp’s impressive play off the bench have been a major reason for the Red Sox’ success this season.

A major reason for the Red Sox’ success this season has been their ability to matchup against their opposition’s starting pitcher. Against left-handed starters in the regular season they hit .273 and against right-handed starters .279 – just a six-point difference. When facing Tampa in the ALDS it was a left-handed dominant staff, so the Sox countered with a number of right-handed bats in their lineup and coming off the bench. Against the Tigers in the ALCS things might be a little different.

Detroit’s starting rotation is all right-handers in Anibal Sanchez (Game 1), Max Scherzer (Game 2), Justin Verlander (Game 3) and Doug Fister (Game 4), so it is likely the Red Sox will counter with a heavy-dose of left-handed hitters – for the most part.

“The strength of this team has been the depth of its roster,” manager John Farrell said. “There are going to be some matchups that we think are more favorable in one case or another. We’ve had the utmost, complete confidence in every guy in our uniform and they’re going to be involved.”

All of the starters are pretty much set and stone with the exception of left field and possibly behind the plate as well as third base. Jonny Gomes started three of the four games against the Rays in left field because of the left-handers the Rays threw at the Sox, but things will likely be different this time around.

Daniel Nava will likely get the nod in left field as the switch hitter is much better from the left side as he is hitting .322 with an on-base percentage of .411 and 10 of his 12 home runs have come from that side of the plate. On the other hand, Gomes is hitting just .258 against right-handers.

The one wild card player is Mike Carp, who didn’t play at all in the ALDS, but is hitting .300 with an on-base percentage of .367 against right-handers. Nava is a career .111 (1-for-9) hitter against Scherzer, so it’s possible Carp could sneak a spot-start in Game 2.

The catching position is where it gets tricky as Jarrod Saltalamacchia is much better against right-handers this season (.294) than back-up David Ross (.167), but Saltalamacchia is coming off an ALDS where he went 3-for-10 with seven strikeouts. Ross is also better defensively behind the plate, so that will be something Farrell will need to take into account.

“There’s a place for him in here as I see it on paper on a couple of situations,” Farrell said of Ross.” We’ll look to mix and match. And it may be a strength of he combination on our side as opposed to facing an opposing pitcher.”

Ross could start against Sanchez in Game 1 as although he is 2-for-11, one of the two hits is a home run and Saltalamacchia has never faced him. Farrell also suggested he and Lester work well together noting the Sept. 3 game at Fenway where Lester, the Game 1 starter, and the Sox beat the Tigers 2-1.

“I’m just going to do what is asked of me,” Ross said. “My role has always been all year to back up Salty and that is what I am going to do. I am sure he is going to get most of the starts and there is no left-hander starter in there. I am going to stay ready and we’re going to talk about how to navigate the lineup … I am just going to be ready; I think that’s all I can do. I think that is what everyone does, just gets themselves ready just in case and then go out there and perform.”

As for later in the games all hands will be on deck as was the case in Game 4 against Tampa with a number of different players coming off the bench as pinch-hitters or defensive replacements. Gomes, Carp and Ross all are possibilities.

Although Carp didn’t see any time in the Rays series he hit .263 with an on-base percentage of .417 and two home runs in the regular season as a pinch-hitter and in a seven game series there will be many pinch-hit opportunities.

“The more opportunities you get to fulfill that role the better off you’re going to feel and the more confidant you’re going to be,” Carp said. “I am riding high, especially getting the opportunity in a series like this as if I am coming into pinch-hit the game is probably on the line.”

One of the players who could possibly be pinch-hit for is shortstop Stephen Drew, like he was in Game 4, as the lefty hit .151 against left-handed relievers in the regular season. Saltalamacchia would be another candidate given his struggles in the ALDS, primarily his strikeout totals.

Using their whole roster and working matchups has been one of the main reasons for the Red Sox’ success this season so look for it to continue in the most important games of the year.

“It’s been a trait of this team and then when we’ve looked to get a productive pinch-hit, it’s because they’ve had some recent activity and we envision that to be the case over the course of the seven-game series,” Farrell said.

Follow Metro Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @Hannable84.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…