A statistical comparison of the two starters, LHP Matt Moore and LHP Jon Lester, does not bode well for the Red Sox; it shows that Moore has baffled Sox batters, limiting them to a .120 BA, 2 hits, 1 HR in 50 ABs this season.
Lester has a much better ERA, 2.70 to 2.19 in the 10 recent starts, while Moore has the better regular season: 3.75 to 3.29.
Remarkably, the Rays have hit the ball hard against Lester.
Of 100 ABs: 28 hits, .280 BA, but 5 of those 28 were HRs and 10 were for extra bases for a very high SLG % of .480 and an .829 OPS.
“He’s been outstanding in the second half,” manager John Farrell said. “The last eight starts that he’s put together for us, he’s been very strong, and he’ll lead the way for us.”
W-L ERA WHIP K-W
17-4 3.29 1.30 143/76
|LAST 10 STARTS:|
W-L ERA WHIP K-W
17-4 3.75 1.29 177/67
|LAST 10 STARTS:|
FEW HITS, MOSTLY HRs
Drilling down to the “Mano-a-Mano” strata, Lester vs. Tampa batters, we find that Desmond Jennings is the biggest problem for Lester at .462 [BA], 1.308 [OPS]. Oddly, Jose Molina [2013: .238] hits .364 with Lester.
In 8 ABs, Ryan Roberts [.500] and Sean Rodriguez [.375] and rookie Wil Myers has the highest BA [.667] in just 3 ABs and that hit was a HR; Jennings and Joyce have two the other Rays’ 5 HRs vs. Lester.
But, the most interesting stat is…
"Longoria’s BA against the Boston lefty: just a .184 BA, 2 for 11, but both hits were HRs."
In 100 ABs the Rays batters have 28 hits for a .280 BA, but 5 of those 28 were HRs and 10 were for extra bases for a remarkably high SLG % of .480 and an .829 OPS
[ED. NOTE: Gave # ABs the most weight, as it is more likely to be predictable.]
MOORE MASTERS SOX BATTERS
Drilling down to the “Mano-a-Mano” strata, Moore vs. Red Sox batters, we are working with half the sample size [50 ABs] and that Moore has mastered the Sox; only Oritz has hit him: 2 for 6 [.333] and the only HR.
In the 50 ABs Sox batters have only 2 hits; a single by Drew and a double by Pedroia for a paltry .120 BA.
MLB SCOUT ON MOORE:
“Power arm with three plus pitches (fastball, curve and changeup) . . . Has struggled at times with fastball command . . . Has hard curveball . . . Way to beat him is to wait him out, because of fastball command issues . . . Good first move to first, but high leg kick makes stealing third base easier . . . Hasn’t gone deep as Price and Cobb . . . Stuff stays the same late in game, but pitch count can be an issue.” [http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nbc-yahoo-sports/boston-red-sox-vs-tampa-bay-rays-scout-141551615–ocid.yahoo.html]
“Moore relies on both two- and four-seam fastballs (the former a sinker) alongside a changeup and a 10-to-4 curveball. When he’s going well, he can throw all three for strikes. When he struggles, there are stretches when he can’t throw any of them for strikes.” [Tim Britton (@TimBritton) of the Providence Journal]
Reading the stat leaves in the bottom of our tea cup, we can project a 4-0 win for Moore and a 1-0 ALDS lead for the Rays.
How the Sox could win:
*Sox batters “grind it out” in every AB–wait him out–run up the pitch count.
*Ortiz hits a HR.
*Pedroia hits a timely double.
*Lester holds the Rays to 2 runs in 7 innings.
*RHP Breslow can put up a zero in the 8th
*Uehara shuts the door.
"Sox win: 3-2."
LINEUPS: GAME ONE
RED SOX (0-0)
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (15-8, 3.75).
Pitching: LHP Matt Moore (17-4, 3.29).
Game time: 3:07 p.m.
TV/Radio: TBS / WEEI, ESPN.
Red Sox vs. Moore: Pedroia 2-14, Ortiz 6-13, Gomes 2-12, Napoli 1-9, Ellsbury 0-6, Victorino 0-7, Drew 2-5, Middlebrooks 0-5, Nava 0-3, Salty 0-1.
Rays vs. Lester: Longoria 13-55, Zobrist 9-48, Escobar 9-35, Young 6-31, Rodriguez 5-24, Molina 9-22, Jennings 9-23,
Stat of the Day: This is the first playoff game for the Red Sox since Oct. 11, 2009. Since the Sox last qualified, 15 other teams have been in the postseason.
- Rays have drawn the most walks in the MLB (589) resulting in the highest walk rate (9.4%)
- The Rays have the 3rd highest OBP in the AL (.329)
- The Rays pitching staff is second in the AL in calculated WHIP (1.227)
- The Rays have the best AVG against in the AL (.240)
- The Pitching staff have limited the opposition to an AL best 1,315 hits
By Peter Abraham, Globe Staff
Felix Doubront was ultimately selected to the playoff roster to give the Red Sox the most flexibility, manager John Farrell explained.
“We looked at the Felix as [having] the ability to give us multiple innings,” said Farrell. “If we were to get into a situation where it’s a lengthy rain delay and we need multiple innings to start back up. It was more the ability to go multiple innings and a guy who has had a very good year for us.”
Doubront had expressed reservations about pitching in relief. But a series of meetings, the last one coming Tuesday, cured him of that.
“That sit-down with him was critical in terms of the accepting of the role and understanding there was going to be a need for a change in routine,” Farrell said. “What needed to be further clarified is that he can pitch anywhere from one hitter to four innings and to remain open-ended and open-minded and just go pitch to the best of your abilities until we take the ball out of your hand.”
Having Doubront around also enables the Red Sox to use Ryan Dempster in any role and not just long relief.
“When we made the move with [Dempster] to the bullpen, we didn’t see him as just a long guy,” Farrell said. “The ability to come in and get a righthander, he’s also been very good against lefties. His veteran presence. It creates more flexibility with his usage.”
Doubront hasn’t started a game since Sept. 22. But Farrell said he is capable of going 75 pitches.
Matt Thornton, a July trade acquisition, did not have the impact that was expected. He pitched in only 20 games, seven in high-leverage situations.
• Thornton, Ryan Lavarnway, and John McDonald are not on the roster but are staying with the team and can be in uniform. The same is true for injured pitchers Andrew Bailey and Andrew Miller.
• The Red Sox see Franklin Morales as their situational lefty. They’d be willing to use him against a lefty hitter with men on base.
• Farrell said the four-day break for the Red Sox has helped Shane Victorino’s sore hand and thumb “calm down a little bit.” The pain has gone. Jacoby Ellsbury has benefitted, too.
“Two very critical guys in our lineup and for sure defensively,” said Farrell. “To have them out there and available at 100 percent, that’s two critical guys.”
• Farrell arrived at 7:45 a.m. for the 3:07 p.m. game. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was already in the clubhouse. First playoff game as a manager for Farrell and first as a player for Salty.
• RHP Jeremy Hellickson, not Chris Archer, is lined up as Game 4 starter for Rays.
• Bruins coach Claude Julien sent Farrell a text message wishing him well.
• Some passing rain canceled batting practice on the field. But the game is not expected to be affected. Farrell joked that all the preparation the Sox did for the shadows went for naught.
• There’s a wall in the manager’s office at Fenway Park that has framed photographs of all the managers in team history. It was something Bobby Valentine started, and Farrell kept the photos up there.
A prankster swapped out the photo of Terry Francona and replaced it with clubhouse attendant Pookie Jackson.
“I walked in one day and there it was,” Farrell said. “I almost jumped out of my seat.”
Notes: The Sox were 12-7 against the Rays, 6-4 at home. … The Sox have lost have lost four straight playoff games going back to Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS against Tampa Bay. … Lester is 2-3, 2.57 in eight playoff games, six of them starts. He was 2-1, 4.32 in four starts against the Rays this season. … Moore is 2-2, 3.86 in five career appearances against the Sox. That included a shutout on July 22 at Fenway when he allowed two hits, walked one and struck out four. Moore is making his second postseason start. He pitched in two games for the Rays in 2011 as a rookie. … The Sox were 53-28 at home this season. … Tampa Bay is making its fifth trip to Boston this season. The Rays had to return for a one-game makeup along with their three usual trips in the regular season. … The Rays are 12-14 in the postseason all-time. … Tampa Bay was 24 of 158 (.152) with runners in scoring position against the Sox this season. … Ortiz has the most runs (39), hits (61), doubles (15), home runs (12), RBIs (43) and walks (41) in Red Sox postseason history. … The Sox averaged 6.5 runs in a 16-9 September. … Counting the wild card game, the Rays have won 10 of 12.
Here is Tampa Bay’s Division Series roster:
22 Chris Archer RHP
53 Alex Cobb RHP
58 Jeremy Hellickson RHP
57 Jake McGee LHP
55 Matt Moore LHP
62 Joel Peralta RHP
14 David Price LHP
56 Fernando Rodney RHP
54 Alex Torres LHP
35 Jamey Wright RHP
49 Wesley Wright LHP
59 Jose Lobaton
28 Jose Molina
11 Yunel Escobar
21 James Loney
3 Evan Longoria
18 Ben Zobrist
7 David DeJesus,
5 Sam Fuld
8 Desmond Jennings
2 Kelly Johnson
20 Matt Joyce
9 Wil Myers
1 Sean Rodriguez, Sean
DESIGNATED HITTER (1)
15 Delmon Young
Game 1 at Fenway Park on Friday: LHP Jon Lester (15-8, 3.75) vs. LHP Matt Moore (17-4, 3.29), 3:07 p.m., TBS.
Game 2 at Fenway Park Saturday: RHP John Lackey (10-13, 3.52) vs. LHP David Price (10-8, 3.33), 5:37 p.m., TBS
Game 3 at Tropicana Field Monday: RHP Clay Buchholz (12-1, 1.74) vs. TBA, time TBA, TBS.
Game 4 at Tropicana Field Tuesday (if necessary): RHP Jake Peavy (4-1, 4.04) vs. TBA, time TBA, TBS.
Game 5: at Fenway Park on Thursday (if necessary) TBA vs. TBA, time TBA, TBS.
By Peter Abraham, Globe Staff
Here is the Red Sox playoff roster:
LHP Craig Breslow
RHP Clay Buchholz
RHP Ryan Dempster
LHP Felix Doubront
RHP John Lackey
LHP Jon Lester
LHP Franklin Morales
RHP Jake Peavy
RHP Junichi Tazawa
RHP Koji Uehara
RHP Brandon Workman
SS-3B Xander Bogaerts
SS Stephen Drew
1B Mike Napoli
3B Will Middlebrooks
2B Dustin Pedroia
CF Quintin Berry
LF-1B Mike Carp
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
LF Jonny Gomes
LF-RF-1B Daniel Nava
RF-CF Shane Victorino