Red Sox

McAdam: Rainout could have big impact on remainder of Red Sox-Indians series


McAdam: Rainout could have big impact on remainder of Red Sox-Indians series

In theory, a playoff game rainout impacts both teams equally. If a game isn't played, it's difficult to see how one team would benefit more than another.

In theory.

In reality, the Red Sox may gain an advantage from Sunday's rainy weather, which forced the postponement of Game 3 of their Division Series with the Cleveland Indians.

First, let's acknowledge the obvious: in leading two games to none, the Indians are most assuredly in the driver's seat for the series, needing just one win in three tries to advance to the American League Championship Series.

Secondly, if the Red Sox don't start to hit like they did during the regular season, than the rainout and its consequences -- unintended or not -- is largely moot.

But given the importance of pitching, the Red Sox could benefit two ways by the cancellation Sunday.

Though they haven't shown it in the two games to date, the Red Sox own a deeper and more talented rotation. The Indians are without their second- and third-best starters, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar.

Those injuries forced Terry Francona to try to get through this best-of-five series with three starters: Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber and Josh Tomlin.

That plan is unaffected by the rainout, although Bauer will get an extra day of rest if a Game 4 is necessary Tuesday. (Bauer would have otherwise made his Game 4 start on three days' rest; he'll now get the standard four, though given that he was lifted after 4 2/3 innings in Game 1, the short rest wasn't going to be a huge factor anyway).

If Kluber is needed for a Game 5, he'll pitch on normal rest - just as he would have had the rainout not taken place.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, have a deeper rotation and Sunday's rain means they now have more options.

While John Farrell announced Sunday that Clay Buchholz will remain the Game 3 starter, he wouldn't commit to Eduardo Rodriguez for Game 4.

"What we do if we get to a Game 4,'' said Farrell, "we'll have further discussion on that.''

Translation: Rick Porcello will start a Game 4. Given the opportunity to commit to Rodriguez, Farrell wouldn't, meaning that the organization is leaning toward Porcello for that assignment, with David Price available for a potential winner-take-all Game 5.

Given how poorly Porcello and Price pitched in Games 1 and 2, that might not sound like an advantage for the Red Sox. But they're betting that Porcello, the Cy Young Award front-runner, experience an aberrational outing in the opener and like his chances to shut down the Indians better than Rodriguez's.

As for the bullpen, the Indians own a decided edge there if for no other reason that the series' most dominant pitcher -- Andrew Miller -- belongs to them.

But Sunday's inclement weather has taken away a day off between Games 4 and 5, with the teams looking at the potential of playing Games 3 through 5 in three consecutive days.

That means it will be harder for Terry Francona to have Miller contribute multi-inning appearances in all three.

In the event that the Sox force this series back to Cleveland, Miller would have had a day of rest between Games 4 and 5. Now, he no longer has that luxury.

Finally, with Rodriguez likely scratched from a Game 4 start, he, too, would be available out of the bullpen in both Game 4 and Game 5, providing one more lefty -- to go with Robbie Ross Jr. and Drew Pomeranz -- for Farrell with which to match up against Cleveland's predominantly lefty-hitting lineup.

On paper, then, the Sox could realize more of an advantage from Sunday's unexpected time off.

But if they don't get a good start from Buchholz and more production from their lineup starting in Game 3, that's academic.


Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are about to go global.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy on Monday confirmed the Sox are interested to play the Yankees in London during next year's regular season. Bloomberg reported the clubs are nearing an agreement to play two games there in June 2019. Discussions are indeed taking place, but a deal is not done.

MORE - Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make," Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.

Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics.

MLB has not played any games in Europe before. The Red Sox have made trips before, including to Japan before the 2008 season.


Red Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

Red Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

Blake Swihart’s strong spring seems to have the Red Sox more inclined to deal one of their natural utility infielders, such as Brock Holt or Deven Marrero, rather than Swihart, a converted catcher with high upside who's getting a look in other roles.
"Sounds like they’re holding Swihart to open," a rival executive said. "More likely to move a utility guy."
A true utility guy, that is.


The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported Sunday that Marrero has been drawing interest from other teams.

"We do have depth with our middle infielders," Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday. "However, [I] would not get into potential trade discussions."
Swihart, who turns 26 on April 3, is most valuable as a catcher. But he could still be useful in a bench role for the 2018 Red Sox, and a win-now mentality may be the driving force here. (It is possible, as well, that there is nothing available via trade for Swihart that has piqued the Sox’ interest. Marrero or Holt wouldn’t require as much in return.)
The potential drawback is that Swihart won’t grow much if he’s not playing every day -- and in particular, if he's not catching every day. But the Sox may be be at a juncture where they feel his bat is a worthwhile experiment off the bench, at least for this season. They can figure out his future -- and their future at backstop -- later.
"He’s a great athlete," Cora told reporters on Sunday. "We’ve seen it in the batter’s box. It’s not only the results, but the way he’s driving the ball to left field as a left-hander, the quality of at-bats as a right-hander. [On Saturday], as a pinch-hitter, that kid was throwing 99 and he throws a breaking ball and squares a ball up."
Swihart entered Monday with a .283 average in Grapefruit League play, with a .905 OPS and a pair of home runs. But he does not have the infield experience that Marrero or Holt has, and the Red Sox essentially have to carry one of those two to start the year. 
Eduardo Nunez, the temporary replacement for Dustin Pedroia, is coming off a knee injury, and a sure-handed infielder -- Marrero’s glove is particularly good -- is a must. Rafael Devers is still coming into his own at third base. 
Tzu-Wei Lin is available in the minors too, and the Sox could see some redundancy with him, Holt and Marrero. Lin, unlike Marrero, has minor league options remaining. Lin also has some limited outfield experience.
The way the Sox roster looks now, they have two spots available for the three guys: Marrero, Holt and Swihart. Health can change that. Holt, despite being the most veteran of the group, has minor league options remaining, so he theoretically could go to Triple-A to start the season. But if the Sox don't see a role for him on this year's team any way, they'd be wiser trading him, considering he's due to make $2.225 million. It also would be the kindest choice for Holt, to let him have an opportunity elsewhere, if one exists.


Swihart has played first base, third base and left field in addition to catching this spring. Perhaps, in time, there will be a way to work Swihart in behind the plate for the Sox. At the least, retaining him would be insurance if Christian Vazquez or Sandy Leon do not perform well offensively.
There was a clear personal-catcher system for the Red Sox in 2017. Leon was Chris Sale’s guy, for example. Manager Alex Cora said he is not taking that approach. As an auxiliary effect, moving away from a personal-catcher system might make it easier for Swihart to receive more time behind the plate, if called on.
"Whoever I feel comfortable with that day behind the plate, he'll catch," Cora told reporters in Florida. "Christian already caught him. Sandy's going to catch him today. And then the next turn, Christian's going to catch him. Everybody's going to work with everybody."