10/14/2013 8:49 P.M. ET
Red Sox corner infielders looking to break out
By Ian Browne and Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
DETROIT -- If the Red Sox can get production from their corner positions, it could have a profound impact on their lineup.
Thus far in the postseason, first baseman Mike Napoli and third baseman Will Middlebrooks haven't been able to get untracked.
But that could change quickly. Middlebrooks showed signs that he might be ready to start hitting again with a double in the left-field corner that started the key rally in a 6-5 win in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.
While Red Sox fans have been clamoring for top prospect Xander Bogaerts to get a start, manager John Farrell has stuck with Middlebrooks, who has started all six postseason games.
"It's meant a lot to me," Middlebrooks said. "It's been, obviously, a pretty down year for me. For him to stick with me, especially in this part of the season, it's really important to get wins, and it's meant a lot to me."
Napoli had a better regular season than Middlebrooks and carried the team in stretches. But his bat has been quiet this October. The right-handed-hitting slugger is 2-for-17 with just one RBI.
After sitting against Max Scherzer in Game 2, Napoli will return to the lineup for Game 3 (Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET on FOX) against Tigers ace Justin Verlander.
"I feel confident every time I go up there I'm going to do something," Napoli said. "They're hitting their spots. They've got good stuff. I've felt fine. I go up there, I'm confident every time. It's not like I'm searching for anything. My BP has been good and my cage work. Yeah, I'm confident every time I go up there."
Farrell considering starting Gomes in Game 3
DETROIT -- Citing "intangibles," Red Sox manager John Farrell is considering looking past the numbers to start Jonny Gomes in left field for Tuesday's Game 3 of the American League Championship Series (4 p.m. ET on FOX).
Gomes has not enjoyed any success to date against Game 3 starter Justin Verlander, going 0-for-9 with three walks, an RBI and three strikeouts in 13 plate appearances against the Tigers right-hander.
Yet Farrell said that he had not ironed out all aspects of his Game 3 lineup, acknowledging that Mike Napoli would start at first base and strongly hinting that Gomes might get the nod in left field.
"The one thing that we can't fully measure is the intangibles that Jonny Gomes brings, and so the full lineup tomorrow is still yet to be decided," Farrell said.
Daniel Nava was out of Boston's lineup against Max Scherzer in Game 2 after making the start in left field for Game 1, logging the only Red Sox hit in the contest.
Though it is a small sample size, Nava does own one big hit in three career at-bats against Verlander: he belted a three-run double in a 6-3 Red Sox victory over Verlander and the Tigers on May 29, 2012 at Fenway Park.
Farrell said that he senses a "substantial difference" for the Red Sox when they have Gomes in the lineup instead of having him on the bench.
"One, he's got an opportunity to make something happen inside of a game," Farrell said. "And I think the one thing that might fly under the radar with Jonny is he's a smart player. Much like we talked about with the will to succeed on [Dustin Pedroia's] part on second base, it's very similar to Jonny.
"So he can bring an overall personality to a team when he's in the lineup versus when he's in the dugout. These are the things at this point in time in the year I think you have to consider strongly with the attitude and the makeup that we present on the field."
Gomes said that he would be excited to be in the lineup for Game 3, and while Verlander presents a difficult challenge, Gomes noted Verlander's 13-12 record in the regular season as evidence that he isn't invincible.
"He's tough. At the same time, he's a game over .500," Gomes said. "He's been beat. We've just got to grind it out like we've been doing."
Red Sox even-keeled despite big win
DETROIT -- Though the momentum clearly swung in favor of Boston in the memorable comeback in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, it could just as easily go back the other way in Game 3.
Perhaps if there was a game on Monday instead of a travel/workout day, the Red Sox would have had an advantage.
"You saw how momentum worked last night," Red Sox catcher David Ross said. "Good things happened for us, the crowd got into it, and David [Ortiz] delivered. Good things happen with momentum. You come in here with an off-day, and you wish you were playing today a little bit, because of what happened last night. But they get an off-day, and they get to regroup. I'm sure their fans are going to come out nice and loud tomorrow, and we're actually going to have to pick it up from the get-go."
Red Sox manager John Farrell knows that it's foolish to think the Tigers will come out with less energy on Tuesday (4 p.m. ET on FOX) due to the tough fashion in which they lost Game 2.
"We don't expect anything less than they'll be ready to go tomorrow afternoon," Farrell said. "That's a veteran team in its own right, one that is very confident. I'm sure every time they write [Justin] Verlander in that starting spot on the mound, they're going to gain a lot of confidence, as well."
Tigers manager Jim Leyland has been around long enough to know not to dwell on a bitter defeat.
"Well, I think it's pretty simple," Leyland said. "We let one get away. I think the way you have to look at it, my opinion is we probably should be 1-1, and that's what we are."
Boston hitters working pitch count amid slump
DETROIT -- Though Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer completely dominated their starts in Games 1 and 2 of the American League Championship Series, the Red Sox did accomplish one goal. Their hitters have been patient enough that Sanchez and Scherzer were both gone before the eighth inning.
As evidenced by the comeback in Game 2, getting into Detroit's bullpen is probably Boston's best chance of winning this series.
In Game 1, Sanchez threw 116 pitches over six innings. Scherzer departed after seven innings and 109 pitches in Game 2.
"I just knew I was at my limit," Scherzer said. "You have to be smart. It's still early in the series. You have to gauge your health, because my health is important to the team, and I reached my pitch-count limit. I told them I was done."
The Red Sox take great satisfaction in making the other team's starter feel "done."
"That's what we do," first baseman Mike Napoli said. "It's part of our offense. We all work together to try to do something like that. We're not going to try to change anything. We just have to try to square some balls up and get some hits."
Game 3 is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET on FOX.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.