BOSTON (AP) — Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell isn’t ready to announce his rotation for the AL division series.
It would be a surprise, though, if Jon Lester didn’t throw the first pitch in Friday’s opener at Fenway Park.
“We all gain confidence from every starting pitcher that goes out and keeps a game under control,” Farrell said Tuesday. “He’s done it very consistently, particularly in the second half. When he walks to the mound, we feel pretty good about our chances that night.”
Farrell is waiting until after the team’s simulated game on Wednesday to settle on his rotation and roster for the best-of-five series. The Red Sox will face the winner of Wednesday night’s wild-card game between the Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays.
Lester’s strong finish helped the Red Sox to the best record in the AL at 97-65, one game better than the Oakland Athletics, and home field advantage throughout the postseason.
He was 5-1 with a 2.22 ERA in his last eight starts. After the All-Star game, he went 7-2 with a 2.57 ERA. He was 8-6 with a 4.58 ERA before the break.
“He’s been so great his last eight starts,” catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. “He’s confident, he feels good, he has a good feel of where the ball’s going. And it’s a great time for that.”
Boston’s other four starters in the series are expected to be right-handers John Lackey, Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy. Wednesday’s simulated game could give a clue to the playoff rotation.
“Jake and Clay will have multiple innings on the mound,” Farrell said, “so you can deduct from that what you wish. But, at the same time, we feel like with the number of days off, we’ve got to get a good portion of our relievers to the mound as well.”