Early Sox Notes: Farrell opts for similar lineup

Early Sox Notes: Farrell opts for similar lineup
July 27, 2013, 7:15 pm
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BALTIMORE -- With his team in the middle of a bad offensive funk, manager John Farrell essentially stuck with the same lineup for the second game of the Red Sox' series against the Baltimore Orioles.     

The only change was in left field, where Daniel Nava (2-for-12 since the break) sat in favor of Mike Carp.     

The Sox had scored two runs or fewer in five of their previous eight games.     

But while Farrell stayed with the same personnel, he voiced the hope that the lineup's approach might change some.     

"While we've gone up against some quality pitching,'' he said, "there's been some instances and some occasions where we've maybe abandoned an approach that's worked very well for us, where we've maybe expanded the strike zone a little bit early in the count. At times we're looking to make some things happen rather than continuing to grind out our approach.''     

The problem, as Farrell noted, is that the Sox are facing quality starters (Hiroki Kuroda, Matt Moore, David Price, Chris Tillman) who have managed to get ahead early in the count.     

Thus, the Sox have to strike a balance: be selective, but don't fall behind, either.     

Farrell noted that Nava's swing has gotten long of late. That led to a start Saturday night for Carp, who's had just seven at-bats since the break ended.     

"This was a chance (for Carp) to stay in the mix,'' said Farrell.     

Over the last nine games, the Red Sox were hitting just .216 as a team with a paltry .268 on-base pecentage, scoring 23 runs -- or 2.5 runs per game -- during that span.

* Rookie Drake Britton tossed a scoreless inning in relief of John Lackey Friday night, giving him four scoreless relief innings to start his major league career.     

"He's made some pretty tangible adjustments to his delivery since we last saw him in spring training,'' said Farrell, "and that's to his credit, the work he's put in. And it's allowed him to command his fastball around the plate and not miss on his arm side. When he's in the moment -- and he's faced probably some of the toughest lefthanded hitters this division has to offer -- he's done a pretty [good] job with that. Along the way, I would think, that he's gained some conifence in the settings he's been put into.''     

The Sox have also been impressed with the way in which he's made the transition from starter to reliever.     

"He's gotten loose quick and he's bounced back,'' said Farrell. "We've used him on consecutive days not too long ago and he's come to us with some confidence and we've been able to match him up to use his abilities to his advantage. So far, so good.''

* Koji Uehara has pitched just once since last Sunday and only three times since the All-Star break.     

The Sox are trying to find a balance between overuse and keeping him sharp. Uehara has said that he's more effective when he pitches regularly.     

"With his experience and because he has such a good feel for his delivery,'' said Farrell, "you're probably less concerned with (him sitting) that you would with a younger guy. But we don't want to get too far away from his last outing, as well.''     

Uehara hasn't allowed an earned run in July, covering 11 appearances.

* Clay Buchholz threw "with a little bit more intensity'' than Friday.     

"He came out of it feeling very good...no restrictions,'' said Farrell. "It was another positive workday. A little bit further in length and distance and additional intensity.''     

Buchholz will have a light day Sunday, then attempt to intensify things Monday and Tuesday back in Boston.