BOSTON — The Red Sox think it’s unlikely is Eduardo Nunez back before the postseason, and it’s not a certainty at this point he’ll make the first-round roster.
Coming back from a right knee injury, Nunez hit on the field, took grounders and did some 40-yard sprints in the outfield on Friday. He hasn’t attempted baserunning yet, and won’t until next week.
“We’ll put together some simulated action Monday or Tuesday in workouts here,” manager John Farrell said. “[Base running] will be built into his BP on Sunday when he hits live on the field here. We’ll incorporate that coming out of the box and simulate as much as possible.”
Whether the Red Sox would carry Nunez if he’s available only as a pinch-hitter or designated hitter isn’t clear.
“I think that’s probably going to be dependent upon what we see he’s capable of and how he comes out of those simulated settings,” Farrell said, “so that’s yet to be determined.”
FINAL SCORE: Indians 5, Red Sox 4
IN BRIEF: Michael Brantley singled in the winning run in the 11th inning, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Red Sox 5-4 on Saturday night to delay Boston's bid for a club-record 106th victory and home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
RED SOX RECORD: 105-50
WHERE THEY STAND: The Red Sox will have to wait another day to break the franchise record for most wins in a season. But with seven games to go, and leading the Astros by 7.5 games for the best record in the AL, the Red Sox are still in good shape to clinch home field advantage.
HOW IT ENDED
SUNDAY: Red Sox (Hector Velazquez, 7-2, 3.18) at Indians (Adam Plutko, 4-5, 1.27), 7:05 p.m.
MONDAY: Orioles (Pitcher TBA) at Red Sox (Pitcher TBA), 7:10 p.m.
Eduardo Rodriguez shaky outing against the Yankees in the Red Sox' American League East-clinching victory over the Yankees - and Nathan Eovaldi's success against New York - has led to Alex Cora going with Eovaldi over E-Rod as a playoff starter, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
Eovaldi (2-3, with a 3.64 ERA since joining the Red Sox) allowed two hits in six innings at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, his second strong start against Boston's rivals. Rodriguez (12-4, 3.79 ERA) couldn’t get through four innings Thursday against the Yankees. He walked seven, gave up five runs and has a 5.79 ERA and 1.554 WHIP in four starts since coming off the DL Sept. 1.
Rosenthal mentioned that E-Rod's pace and body language were concerns. He said Eovaldi will open the best-of-five A.L. Division Series in the bullpen, then be available to start Game 4, if necessary, in Oakland or New York.
The Yankees and A's will play in the wild-card game Oct. 2, with the winner playing the Red Sox in the best-of-five Division Series.
In talking to reporters Friday night in Cleveland, it sounded as if Cora had his rotation and bullpen figured out. Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello are likely the top three starters.
“We saw what happened this week. We have a pretty good idea who matches well with the Yankees," Cora said, adding that the Red Sox staff and scouts have to also concentrate on preparing for the A's, a team Boston hasn't played since May 16 after going 2-4 in the season series.
“It’s wide open for you guys," Cora said of his bullpen choices. "I have a pretty good idea of where we’re going.”