Cumberland Times-News

Local Sports

October 4, 2013

Red Sox ready for playoffs after 4-day layoff

Will host road warriors today in opener

(Continued)

“It’s nine guys in the lineup getting it done,” Gomes said, but “it’s a clean slate as of (Friday). So it’s zeroes across the board.”
Farrell said the righty-hitting Gomes, a platoon player, would start in left field in the first two games. He also said first-string catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and backup David Ross would split the first two games.
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who bats right-handed, could be a key against Moore and Price.
“He’s shown the ability to be streaky, and when he’s in those upticks it really lengthens our lineup,” Farrell said. “I will tell you that going up against left-handed starters, we’re going to need him.”
Middlebrooks’ position is the only spot where the Rays have an obvious edge. Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria had three hits, including his 32nd homer, in the tiebreaker in Texas.
“He comes in here swinging the bat very well,” Farrell said. “And, seemingly, in those key moments he’s come up with some big hits. So anytime we focus on one given player, it’s not so much that particular guy, it’s what we do with the guys ahead of him in the order. And if we can minimize the opportunities when he comes to the plate, we might put ourselves in a decent position.”
Both teams know each other very well, having met 19 times this season with the Red Sox winning 12.
But Maddon thinks the Rays surge just to reach the ALDS will help them.
“I want to believe the journey we’ve just gone through is going to hopefully relax our hitters a bit,” he said. “So you might see a better offensive ballclub.”

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