Chris Young

Farrell: Nunez likely done for playoffs; says additional rest wouldn’t have helped

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Farrell: Nunez likely done for playoffs; says additional rest wouldn’t have helped

HOUSTON — Red Sox manager John Farrell does not think Eduardo Nunez would be in a better position physically now had the Sox decided not to bring him into game action in the regular season, on Sept. 25, with a little less than a week to go before the postseason.

The reason the Sox did bring him back then, Farrell said, was because they wanted Nunez around to try to lock up the American League East.

“The thinking was that we were still working towards clinching a division,” Farrell said Friday. “He had gone through every available means of rehab, test, testing him in simulated games, trying to get him back in the lineup in advance of the postseason. So, no, no regrets. And I recognize where Nunie’s comments where he felt like he did what he could do to get back in the lineup as soon as possible. So to say that that one game, knowing that there was a re-aggravation, if there are 10 additional days [of rest] prior to yesterday, I don’t know if the outcome is any different.”

Nunez’s right knee is to be evaluated further with an MRI in Boston. He’s off the roster, and his replacement, Chris Young, started at DH on Friday against lefty Dallas Keuchel. 

Either way, Farrell does not expect Nunez will be back this postseason. Nunez would be eligible to return to the roster in the World Series, but even if the Sox make it, he probably wouldn’t be ready to go.

“He needs time,” Farrell said. “This thing needs to heal.”

Farrell settling into platoon combos that may limit Ramirez's time

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Farrell settling into platoon combos that may limit Ramirez's time

BOSTON — The Red Sox platoon situation heading into the postseason seems to be taking shape.

Chris Young was in the lineup for the third time in four games on Tuesday, squaring off with a left-handed starting pitcher for the second straight night. 

He seems to be on his last leg.

Historically at his best facing southpaws, Young just hasn’t gotten it done this year, with a .186/.301/.258 line against them. A respected veteran, Young has been much more competent against righties.

But in the second half, he’s slashing .171/.277/.341 — that's against both lefties and righties.

"No decisions are final here, but felt like these were two games in which those opportunities present themselves,” Farrell said of the choice to play Young on Monday and Tuesday. “You're looking to put guys in a position where they're had a lot of success in the past, and we recognize the reverse to the splits with Chris this year. But felt like left-handers that we'll see, trying to find … the best combination available to us to attack left-handers. We felt it was the spot to put Chris to get some timing, see consistent at-bats against left-handers. We'll see where this goes from here.”

Farrell has previously noted that at this time of year, he’s paying attention to the hot hand. It sounds like Young still has a chance to get hot and make an impression, but not exactly a good chance.

“If a week and a half constitutes a guy getting hot, yeah, that can have a major impact,” Farrell said. “But I think I have to be honest with every guy down there, and certainly with our approach. You put the best combinations on the field that you think can win today.”

Against righty pitching in the playoffs, that means Hanley Ramirez is not going to be playing first base. That means against a righty, the designated hitter spot is likely going to be for Ramirez, or perhaps an ailing Dustin Pedroia if his left knee keeps him away from second base, or Eduardo Nunez, if his right knee is still bothersome.

“If it’s a right-hander it’s going to be Mitch Moreland at first base,” Farrell said. “So, I think the majority of the [playoff] starters are going to be right-handed.”

If the Sox face the Astros in the first round, Dallas Keuchel is the only lefty starter for them to worry about.

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Drellich: Using hot hand is safest route for John Farrell, and that's his plan

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Drellich: Using hot hand is safest route for John Farrell, and that's his plan

BOSTON — With 19 games remaining in regular season, career track records start to mean less for Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Chris Young was in the Sox lineup batting second in left field on Tuesday. He came into the opener of a three-game set with the A’s with four hits in four plate appearances vs. A’s lefty Sean Manaea. But Young, who’s batting .187 vs. southpaws this season, may not be starting against lefties much longer — even though that’s been his forte in his career.

How does Farrell know when to weigh recency more than career past?

“I think we’re getting to that point,” Farrell said. “And you continue to provide opportunity, mentioned the other day when we start talking about the bullpen, you start talking about, you get into the latter part of this month, you begin to start paying closer attention to what is the hotter hand. And let’s face it, we know players go through some ebbs and flows along the way. Much as teams do, and as much as you want to acknowledge how those players have gotten you to that point in their tenure here, I think there comes a point here where it’s you know what, we got to pay closer attention to what is currently taking place for win today at basically all costs.”

This is something of an informed guessing game.

There’s a strong argument to make that basing lineup choices on the hot (or cold) hand is not always the direction to go. But if there is something the coaching staff, Farrell or even the player himself notices about particular performances — something that makes any of that group believe the player can’t live up to their career norms — such a move makes a lot more sense.

Then there’s this aspect: playing the hot hand, very simply, is harder for fans and media to second guess. If Farrell chose to play someone cold over someone with recent success in whatever the scenario may be, he’d get torn apart. But it was expected going into the final month he’d be facing these kinds of choices.

Farrell was asked Tuesday if he’s thought about playing Rajai Davis more frequently against lefties.

“In the short answer, yes,” Farrell said. “But in the obvious situation we’re in, this isn’t the time for us to experiment either. Again there’s the ability to use those who have performed.  So in other words, if it’s Rajai Davis vs. Benny [Andrew Benintendi] in left field, or if it’s in another combination, there are guys that are ahead of him right now and that’s where we’re going about this. 

“Now I will say this: the ability to get or pick a spot where Rajai can make sure he comes in off the bench and the ability to steal a base… we’ll continue to look to try to get those opportunities."