ST. PETERSBURG -- Koji Uehara's dominance has gotten plenty of notice in Boston this season, but now the right-hander gets to have it play out on a national level.
In Saturday's Game 2 of the best-of-five American League Division Series against the Rays, Uehara awed the Fenway faithful and all of his teammates by throwing an 11-pitch, 11-strike ninth inning.
"We call him the ninja," said Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz. "He throws two pitches and it always seems like the hitter is looking for the other one. He's been unbelievable. It's been crazy to watch all season how he can go out there and throw one inning and nine pitches on average and be three up, three down. I think we had a little [joke] going, wondering why he wasn't in the starting rotation. He could probably throw a complete game in 65 pitches."
There's no one the Red Sox would rather have pitching the ninth inning.
"That's fun," said David Ortiz. "Especially when you don't have to face him. When he's on your side, this guy threw 11 strikes in a row last night? That's insane."
Game 3 of the ALDS is on Monday at 6 p.m. ET on TBS.
Ortiz talks to Price, says everything is fine
ST. PETERSBURG -- Including the postseason, David Ortiz has belted 445 home runs in his career. Many of them have been majestic shots that he watched and admired, reminiscent of another left-handed slugger back in the day named Reggie Jackson.
David Price, who became thoroughly frustrated by a 7-4 loss to the Red Sox in Game 2 of the best-of-five American League Division Series on Saturday night, voiced his displeasure after the game about Ortiz watching the second of his two home runs.
But by the end of Sunday's workout, Ortiz said that everything was fine between the slugger and Tampa Bay's ace pitcher.
"It's over. You know, we talked," Ortiz said. "We straightened things out. I have a lot of respect for David, and he does the same for me. I'm not going to make a big deal out of this. I understand his frustration. He's a good pitcher. He's a guy that wants to see results every time we go out there. Sometimes things get out of hand. When you don't see those results, you feel sometimes frustrated about them. But everything's fine."
Ortiz declined to elaborate on who reached out to whom. Price was unavailable for comment.
"We talked," Ortiz said. "It doesn't matter how we got to talk but we did, we talked."
Ortiz was in one of his typically gregarious moods on Sunday. During batting practice, he hit moon shots with an aluminum bat.
"I feel like it," quipped Ortiz. "The ball doesn't jump out of the aluminum bat like it used to."
Ortiz will bring his standard wooden model to Monday night's Game 3 (6 p.m. ET on TBS). But he'll likely wear a uniform instead of the much more casual attire he had at Tropicana Field on Sunday.
While the rest of Ortiz's teammates were in their standard batting-practice uniforms, Big Papi had on a black shirt, black sweat pants and sneakers.
"That was black on black," laughed Ortiz. "[Dustin Pedroia] thought I was going to yoga."
Nava likely to start against righty Cobb in Game 3
ST. PETERSBURG -- Even after having a breakthrough regular season, Daniel Nava was reduced to spectator status for the first two games of the best-of-five American League Division Series against the Rays. This is because Boston happened to face lefties in the first two games, and Jonny Gomes always starts in left against southpaws.
Nava is looking forward to getting his shot in Monday night's Game 3 (6 p.m. ET on TBS), when he is likely to make the start in left against righty Alex Cobb.
"It's nothing different than what my role was earlier in the year," said Nava. "I knew going in that I wasn't going to play the first two games against lefties, and I knew that the third game I'd probably be playing just based off how things have gone this year. We've had stretches where we made a West Coast trip and we faced a lot of righties. It's just how the game goes."
The switch-hitting Nava had a strong season for the Red Sox, hitting .303 with 12 homers, a .385 on-base percentage and an .831 OPS in 458 at-bats.
"It's just how the game goes. Obviously, you want to be in there, but at this point, you work the whole season, you just want to win," Nava said. "We got two wins, we're trying to get one more. If I play three innings or five innings or seven innings, as long as we get the win, that's all anyone cares about."
This will be the first time Nava has played in the postseason.
"I was actually joking with Mark Parent, bench coach for the White Sox," said Nava. "I was like, 'This is going to be the same thing as our [independent league] playoffs.' He was like, 'Yeah. Well, not quite.' It's going to be fun.
"It was fun just being on the bench watching everything take place. One run scores, two runs score, three runs score, and you're on the top step and you don't even realize you're on the top step. But you're into the game, so to be a part of it and have some action, that's what you play 162 for, right?"