Gomes' perfect record on the line in Game 5

Gomes' perfect record on the line in Game 5
October 17, 2013, 7:30 pm
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DETROIT -- Even though the right-handed Anibal Sanchez was on the mound for the Tigers in Game 5, John Farrell opted for the right-handed-hitting Jonny Gomes in left over the switch-hitting Daniel Nava.

Before Game 5, the Sox were 2-0 with Gomes in the lineup. With Nava, they were 0-2.

"If it means tonight we're 3-0 with him in the lineup, maybe I'll be in better position to answer that," cracked Farrell when asked if Gomes' mere presence provides a boost to the Sox. "But even against very difficult right-handers, he's put up good at-bats.

"It shouldn't be seen as a slight to Daniel in any way. But I just feel like we present differently when [Gomes] is in the lineup, versus coming off the bench."

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The Sox got five scoreless innings out of their bullpen in Game 4, but Farrell said everyone in the pen would be available for Game 5, including Brandon Workman, who pitched two innings.

"We didn't want to go more than that," said Farrell, "to not make him available until Saturday. Once again, our bullpen was very effective [Wednesday] night. No one got overextended. To me, everyone would be available [for tonight]."

Dating back to Game 4 of the ALDS, the Red Sox bullpen has been unsecured upon over 16 2/3 innings, the second longest such streak in Red Sox postseason history. The only longer streak was 2003, when the Sox had 19 scoreless innings.

Jake Peavy, who lasted just three innings and allowed seven runs in Game 4, will be available out of the bullpen starting Saturday.

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In addition to bobbling a potential double play in the second inning of Game 4, Dustin Pedroia has struggled at the plate in the postseason.

He was 4-for-17 in the ALDS and went into Game 5 at 3-for-14, making him a combined 7-for-31 [.225].

"I think there's been a willingness to expand a little bit too much," said Farrell, who added that he hadn't considered taking him out of the No. 3 spot.

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Farrell paired David Ross with Jon Lester for Game 5, just as he had done for Game 1, citing how well the pair worked together.

That, of course, cost the Sox the presence of a lefty bat in Jarrod Saltalamaccha.

"It is a balance," said Farrell. "I had outlined to Salty, before this series started, what the first five games was going to look like. He wants to play, no question and a couple of base hits [Wednesday] night doesn't make the decision any easier.

"But the way that Jon and Rossy have teamed up, there's a lot of value in that and I think what we've seen is that starting pitching is the key to this series. And I'm not saying Jon wouldn't be effective [with Saltalamacchia] behind the plate, but that's been a good thing for a while."