BOSTON -- After holding back on naming his Game 1 starter, John Farrell finally announced Sunday that Rick Porcello will get the ball to kick off the postseason.
David Price, Sunday’s starting pitcher, will get the ball in Game 2, but Farrell wouldn’t go beyond that.
“Yet to be determined on who will start Game 3 or 4,” Farrell said.
Porcello has undoubtedly made the case to start all season, putting together a Cy Young-caliber year and setting the tone for a starting rotation that’s had more than it’s share of ups and downs.
“The biggest thing might be just getting comfortable in the surroundings here in Boston,” Farrell said on Porcello’s transformation, “That has been the biggest change in all of this.
“In addition, I think he’s continued to learn about himself as a pitcher. So the overall pitcher, versus one individual aspect of him is what makes him stand out.”
And to no surprise, Porcello knew he had the start prior to Farrell’s announcement.
“He’s known about it for a few days, so it wasn’t really a surprise,” Farrell said.
Farrell also said Drew Pomeranz should get an inning of work in the season finale. This could set him up to be the other left-handed arm out of the pen, in addition to Robbie Ross Jr.
With Pomeranz out of the rotation, and Steven Wright still on the mend, that only leaves Clay Buchholz and Eduardo Rodriguez for Games 3 and 4.
Although the order has not yet been established, it’s hard to imagine that Rodriguez goes before Buchholz, given how the two have thrown of late.
Kelly has Made his case
With the roster still narrowing down, the Red Sox still have a handful of players on the playoff-roster bubble.
One who’s emerged as a potential bullpen armis Joe Kelly, who’s only given up one run in 14 September innings, striking out 20.
“We’ve had a few pitchers make necessary adjustments and Joe’s adapting back to that bullpen role,” Farrell said. “His ability to stay in the lane that he’s going to [and] not let the ball leak back to the middle -- that’s been key for him . . . He’s learning about himself and what makes him execute consistently.”
Farrell said that the team hasn’t decided if they’ll use 11 or 12 pitchers on the roster. But given spoke about Kelly, it’s hard to imagine the right-hander won't make the roster -- and not have a high-leverage role.