Red Sox notes: So far, so good handling Cabrera

Red Sox notes: So far, so good handling Cabrera
October 16, 2013, 7:30 pm
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DETROIT -- Other than the homer he hit in Game 2, the Red Sox have been able to more or less neutralize Miguel Cabrera through the first three games.

"I don't know if what he's dealing with is limiting his ability to extend on some pitches," said Sox manager John Farrell, "or use his legs to drive the ball the other way. [But] he doesn't hit .350 by getting infield hits and he has the ability to adjust, so we have to be mindful of that."

Tazawa struck Cabrera out on four pitches in the eighth inning Tuesday, working him mostly away with fastballs that Cabrera couldn't handle.

"Good RBI guys typically expand the zone in key moments," said Farrell. "So that's what they're paid to do, is drive in runs. And a lot of times you'll see guys get out of the zone and our guys will do that in certain key moments. No, I wasn't surprised at all."

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Farrell made one lineup change for Game 4, inserting Daniel Nava back into the lineup after sitting Nava in favor of Jonny Gomes in Game 3.

The manager said it was difficult to not put the same lineup on the field again following a win, but the matchup numbers -- Nava is 5-for-12 against starter Doug Fister -- were too much to ignore.

"It is," said Farrell. "And [Gomes] was in against [Max] Scherzer as well. So we give him the two toughest right-handers (Scherzer and Justin Verlander), not to take anything away from Fister. But Daniel has had such good success against him and left-handers have fared better against Fister for the most part. But yeah, it's tough to sit [Gomes]. Even yesterday, he had very good at-bats against [Verlander] even though he had only one hit to show for it.

"I don't like to take that guy out of the lineup for reasons we talked about (before Game 3)."

On the other hand, Farrell didn't like to sit Nava for two games.

"With one guys [playing] there's going to be one guy who feels the brunt of it," said Farrell. "Without Nava, we might be no-hit in Game 1. It's not like he hasn't earned it, but maybe sometimes it's going away from the numbers and going with a more gut feel about a situation.

"But as long as it's explained to them, they might not completely agree with it, but at least they understand it."

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Jacoby Ellsbury had a one-out single in the sixth in Game 3, but despite stealing 52-of-56 bases during the season -- and despite Verlander, who allowed 25-of-28 would-be base stealers to be successful during the season, on the mound -- Ellsbury never got a good lead and didn't try to run.

"[Verlander] was 1.14 to 1.18 [seconds] in release times," said Farrell, "and that's enough to stop a premium baserunner. It wasn't anything foot related with [Ellsbury]. He was quicker, shorter leg kick. He was throwing over a number of times even when [David] Ortiz was at first base. I'm sure their scouting report is very clear on what things we try to do and to his credit, he was still able to command the baseball and control the running game."

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Stephen Drew was just 1-for-9 in the three games against the Tigers and 2-for-24 in the postseason, but remained at shortstop.

"If [Tampa Bay first baseman James] Loney doesn't snow-cone a line drive (in Game 4 of the ALDS)," said Farrell, "he's probably got another two or three more RBI and it's, 'Hey, we're getting pretty decent production out of Stephen.' We've faced as good a pitching in both series as the game is going to offer and it's 18-20 at-bats for most guys right now.

"There's been stretches over the course of the regular season where guys have had their 2-for-20s or whatever."