BOSTON -- John Farrell was determined to stay with (essentially) the same lineup for Game 6 of the ALCS that helped him win Game 5, but doing so meant he had to deliver some bad news to players -- like Daniel Nava -- who had helped him over the course of the season.
"It's been very difficult,'' admitted Farrell, "because [Daniel] is a good hitter and he's been an important part of this team throughout the course of the year. But we're also at a time of the year where the environment is different. And that's not to say that he doesn't perform in this environment. But we have a different feel and a different personality on the field when [Jonny Gomes, who played left field in place of Nava, is] in the lineup.
"Call that a hunch, whatever you might. But that's what it boils down to. It's not easy to leave that left-handed bat out of the lineup.''
Gomes was 2-for-9 against Tigers starter Max Scherzer, while Nava was 1-for-9.
"One thing you realize very quickly,'' said Farrell with a smile, "is that every player in [the clubhouse] knows exactly what they've done against a given pitcher. And they are well aware of it, so you've got to be candid, you've got to be truthful and honest, as is he with himself.''
Gomes is considered perhaps the best baserunner on the team, while Nava is far from that classification. That's taken into account, too.
"You're left in a position to ask, 'Okay, what is one guy more advanced at than another?' '' said Farrell. "The smaller things -- defense and baserunning -- the way this series has unfolded are integral and have a huge impact over the outcomes.''
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Jake Peavy, the Game 4 starter was in the bullpen and available for use in Game 6.
"I'm comfortable he could [pitch in relief],'' said Farrell, "because -- and I know it was only a [simulated] game [earler this month] -- there was a something there that stood out [when he came in in the middle of the game] in the two innings he threw. I'd go to other guys we've been going to [before him], particularly in key spots coming out of the bullpen.
"Being the competitor that he is, he wants an opportunity to redeem himself. Hopefully things unfold in a way that that redemption can happen later (in the World Series).''
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After two collisions at the plate in Game 5 -- one between David Ross and Alex Avila; the other between Ross and Miguel Cabrera -- Farrell was asked if he was joining the growing chorus of those who would like to see them banned for safety reasons.
"When this first came up,'' said Farrell, "it really gained a lot of steam with Buster Posey (who was lost for most of the season in 2011). I've always tended to be on the side of tradition, but when guys are an exposed target . . . I would be in favor of some change that would protect them.
"I think a lot of the problem can be avoided, that do take place. How that ultimately is done remains to be seen, but I think anything we do to protect the well-being of the players is a good thing.''
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Farrell was mindful of the workload for Koji Uehara, whom he used for five outs in Game 5.
"Jokingly, I've asked him about five or six outs and he'll say, 'Four,' '' said Farrell. "The other night, he got loose very quickly. We had called down to the bullpen and said it might be five [outs] tonight.''
The manager noted that the closer wasn't his usual exuberant self after pitching an inning and two-thirds in Game 5.
"That wasn't the case the other night,'' said Farrell. "He was exhausted. It's part of what my conversation with him today will be about. That will be brought up. That's all factored in.''