10/28/2013 2:32 A.M. ET
Ross over Salty; slumping Drew stays in lineup
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- Before the postseason started, the general line of thinking was that Jarrod Saltalamacchia was Boston's best offensive catcher and David Ross probably had the edge on defense.
But with Saltalamacchia slumping along with some other key Boston hitters, manager John Farrell went to Ross in Sunday night's Game 4.
Ross has actually looked good in a small sample size at the plate this October, going 4-for-13.
Saltalamacchia is 6-for-32 (.188) in the postseason with 19 strikeouts.
"We're looking to get some spark, to get some offense going," Farrell said. "That's why David is in there today."
However, the heavily slumping Stephen Drew (4-for-44, 17 strikeouts, one walk) remained at shortstop.
Plan B would have been to play Xander Bogaerts at short with Will Middlebrooks at third. Instead, Bogaerts remained on the hot corner.
"If we would be able to guarantee an uptick of offensive production elsewhere, you've got to prioritize one over the other, and the constant has been [Drew's] defense," Farrell said.
Victorino hopes back issue will clear up for Game 5
ST. LOUIS -- For a player with Shane Victorino's competitive fire, having to come out of the starting lineup for Game 4 of the World Series was difficult. But his back left him no choice.
At this point, Victorino hopes he'll be ready to go for Game 5 on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET air time on FOX, 8:07 first pitch).
The right fielder began experiencing tightness in the late stages of Saturday night's Game 3, and he spent a large chunk of Sunday going through the necessary treatment.
But there simply wasn't enough time.
"I had every intention of playing," Victorino said. "Unfortunately it didn't turn out that way. It's really day to day. When I got up this morning, I thought I would be able to play, and had every intention of playing. It just didn't turn out the way I wanted to."
The player who replaced Victorino in Boston's starting lineup was Jonny Gomes, and he wound up hitting the three-run homer that fueled the Red Sox to a 4-2 victory in Game 4.
"It's great to see what happened tonight," said Victorino. "Sometimes you don't play and you see someone go in for at your position and they make a mistake, or don't have a good night, you feel worse. First of all, this guy probably doesn't think he's starting tonight. But with Jonny, I know every day he's thinking he's playing. Every day he's 'Game on.'"
Daniel Nava, who was originally supposed to bat fifth and play left field, moved over to right and also took over Victorino's No. 2 spot in the order. Gomes batted fifth and played left.
Back problems are nothing new for Victorino. He has dealt with them on and off this season and throughout his career, and they've typically represented a day-to-day type of ailment.
"This is probably the worst it's been in a while," Victorino said. "That's what's frustrating for me. I've had that feeling and it's gone away, but today was like, 'Wow!' So hopefully tomorrow it's better. It's frustrating, but on the other hand, it's great to see what happened tonight."
Aside from his game-breaking grand slam that helped the Red Sox clinch the American League Championship Series, Victorino has slumped at the plate in recent weeks.
Take away the grand slam, and Victorino has two hits in his past 33 at-bats, striking out 11 times over that span.
Victorino aggravated his back in Game 3, chasing the double by Matt Adams that went into the corner in right.
Red Sox come to grips with obstruction call
ST. LOUIS -- By Sunday afternoon, you'd never know the Red Sox experienced a stunning loss the night before.
As beat writers huddled in manager John Farrell's office, "Started From The Bottom" by Drake, which has developed into the battle cry of this year's team, was blaring from the clubhouse.
Moments after the game, there was disbelief, and plenty of gripes from players -- Jake Peavy most outspoken among them -- that the umpires were mistaken in calling obstruction on Will Middlebrooks, which allowed Allen Craig to score the winning run.
However, a day later, with time to process it, the call was clearly the right one, even if Middlebrooks didn't intentionally obstruct Craig.
"The call was accurate," Farrell said. "The Type B portion of the rule, I think there needs to have some area in that for intent. Because on that play last night, there's no way Will can get out of the way. It's more the rule that I have some issue with, not the call itself.
"They made the call as the rule suggests and calls for. To say that there can't be some room for intent there, Will wasn't trying to hold the guy down. That's where I think -- not just because we lost a World Series game based on the call -- it needs to be looked at. If you look at it, it gives the opportunity to be the aggressor and take advantage of it."
Ace Jon Lester, who is lined up for Game 5, didn't feel any carryover from Saturday night when he arrived in the clubhouse on Sunday.
"I think today everyone was fine," Lester said. "I think last night, that's not how you want to end a World Series game. I think some guys were probably shocked, confused, a lot of different emotions going on. But there's nothing we can do to change it.
"So we have to move forward to today and focus on today. And if we let that affect us in the clubhouse today and during that game, then we've already been beat. We can't do that. We need to move on and go out there and play a good baseball game tonight."
Farrell regroups after sleep-deprived night
ST. LOUIS -- Game 3 of the World Series was the type of contest that makes sleep a bit of a challenge for the losing manager.
"Who slept?" quipped Red Sox manager John Farrell as he met with Red Sox beat reporters on Sunday afternoon. "No, I didn't sleep worth a damn last night. I did [get some sleep], yeah. Until they struck up the band at 7 a.m. on the square this morning."
And once that band started playing in anticipation of the Rock 'N' Roll Marathon in downtown St. Louis, Farrell again was left to wonder if letting Brandon Workman hit in the ninth inning was the right call.
While most wondered why Farrell didn't pinch-hit Mike Napoli for Workman in the ninth, the manager reiterated that his big miss was not double-switching with catcher David Ross when Workman entered the game in the bottom of the eighth.
Under that scenario, Ross would have batted second in the ninth.
"I mean, the move, the double-switch was the one that was missed," Farrell said. "What I find unknowing is if any other position player is in that spot, is it a guarantee of a home run, which some people think is a given?"
Once he missed the original double-switch, Farrell is still secure in why he didn't bat Napoli for Workman in the ninth.
"Well, I was looking at getting three innings combined out of Workman and Koji [Uehara]. And I felt like, in a tie game, even on the road, I'm not reluctant to use a closer, obviously," said Farrell. "Felt like those were our best two relievers. I felt like, after [Trevor] Rosenthal was out of the game, that the advantage swung back to our side with those two guys available.
"That was my reasoning. Setting aside the double-switch, at that point, I wasn't going to pinch-hit because it felt like there was still the need to get three innings combined out of the two."
• Although the Red Sox needed 4 2/3 innings out of their bullpen in Saturday's heartbreaking defeat, Farrell expected to have all of his relievers available for Game 4. That included Felix Doubront, who worked two innings. In fact, there was also an addition to the normal mix of relievers.
John Lackey, the scheduled starter for Game 6, will also be available if needed, said Farrell. The only silver lining to Saturday's game ending so abruptly is that closer Koji Uehara only faced two batters and he could give Farrell as many as two innings in Game 4.
• Mike Napoli, Boston's starting first baseman who has been reduced to bench duty for the World Series games in St. Louis, has been taking grounders at third base during batting practice.
However, Napoli wouldn't be an option to start a game at third, where he has never played in his Major League career and has just one game of experience at the Minors. If he plays at third in the World Series, it would be for an abbreviated stint, and not a start.
"At this point, probably more late-inning flexibility," Farrell said.