BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox have decisions to make and plenty of time to make them.
After tying for the best record in the majors, they don’t play until Friday night when they host the opener of the AL division series.
Should they keep 11 pitchers in the best-of-five series? Or can they get by with just 10 and give the other spot to a spare outfielder. And what will be their rotation?
“We’ve got some decisions to make,” manager John Farrell said, “and we’ve got probably beginning Tuesday morning to look at that more intently and get down to the number that we’re going to arrive at on Friday.”
The Red Sox won’t know their opponent until tomorrow night’s wild-card game in Cleveland between the Indians and the winner of Monday night’s AL tiebreaker between the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers. The opponent could affect the roster composition, Farrell said, but not the rotation.
Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and John Lackey all had strong seasons and figure to pitch the first three games in some order. Jake Peavy is the fourth starter and the bullpen will have six or seven pitchers, anchored by closer Koji Uehara. He’s allowed one earned run and 12 hits in his last 40 1-3 innings and has shown an ability to pitch more than one inning.
“We’re certainly willing to go more than a three-out save. There might be a six-out save,” Farrell said. “Hopefully, we’re positioned with a lead in the eighth inning that we can turn to him again.”
The Red Sox took yesterday off after finishing the regular season with their second straight loss, 7-6 at Baltimore. They plan three days of workouts, including a simulated game tomorrow.
That they’re in the postseason for the first time in four years seemed unlikely when the season started.