BALTIMORE -- For an extended period, John Farrell met with closer Koji Uehara in the manager's office at Camden Yards.
But when the two emerged, Farrell insisted there were no issues with the veteran reliever.
"Koji's fine,'' said Farrell. "(It's) no different than with other guys - a chance to sit down and talk with. Just touching base after the three consecutive games he pitched (last Thursday through Saturday) and he came through it fine. It was more checking in to see how he came through the repeated use.''
Uehara was unavailable on Sunday when the Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to overtake Oakland. The Sox so no need to pitch him four straight days, so Tommy Layne handled the ninth.
It was here in Baltimore, of course, that Uehara had a poor outing back on April 19, leading some to believe he might not pitch effectively in the closer's role.
But since then, Uehara has been remarkably consistent. In 17 games between trips to Baltimore, Uehara was 10-for-11 in save chances with a 1.84 ERA, allowing just eight hits in 14 2/3 innings.
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.”
FINAL SCORE: Red Sox 7, Indians 5
IN BRIEF: Sam Travis and Tzu-Wei Lin hit their first major league home runs and the Boston Red Sox tied a team record more than a century old with their 105th win, beating the Cleveland Indians 7-5 Friday night.
RED SOX RECORD: 105-49
WHERE THEY STAND: A third straight AL East title wrapped up, the Red Sox turn their sights to home field advantage for the playoffs. They currently hold an 8.5-game lead over the Astros for that honor.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
NIGHT OF FIRSTS FOR BOSTON
AND OF COURSE . . . #SALEDAY
SATURDAY: Red Sox (Rick Porcello, 17-7, 4.30 ERA) at Indians (Shay Clevinger, 12-8, 3.06 ERA), 7:10 p.m.
SUNDAY: Red Sox (pitcher TBA) at Indians (Adam Plutko, 4-5, 5.27 ERA), 7 p.m.