7/20/2014 1:50 A.M. ET
Carp accepting of his role as platoon player
By Steve Petrella / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Without a left-handed-hitting counterpart, it's difficult for a club to find a spot for someone like Jonny Gomes. Fortunately for the platooning Gomes, Mike Carp has been a good foil.
On Sunday, Carp made his first start since July 11 and just his second since May 31. He had only 77 at-bats in 45 appearances this season entering the series finale against the Royals. Carp missed all of June with a fractured bone in his right foot.
"It's a difficult role," manager John Farrell said. "Guys that have had success in that role usually have low maintenance swings. It's a compact swing like Jonny Gomes. We've talked a lot about Mike Carp as the left-handed version of that."
Gomes has played more frequently, appearing in 69 games this season entering Sunday. He starts almost exclusively against lefties and often comes off the bench as a pinch-hitter with a southpaw on the mound. He came off the bench on Friday and delivered a go-ahead, two-run homer in the sixth off lefty Scott Downs in Boston's 5-4 win.
Gomes has hit .317 with an .880 OPS against lefties, while his numbers are just .157 and .499 against righties. His walk-rate (14.6 percent) and strikeout-rate (18.7) against southpaws are also much better than those numbers (6.7 percent, 38.1 percent) against righties.
Carp is the exact opposite as a left-handed bat. He's hit .246 with a .731 OPS against righties and .150 with a .377 OPS versus lefties. Carp admits it's a difficult platoon position, but one he's happy to play.
"It's accepting my role," Carp said. "The moment I did that, good things started happening."
Farrell plots break plan for Red Sox players
BOSTON -- With the next seven games -- in seven days -- on turf, Red Sox manager John Farrell is trying to manage his roster by not overextending anyone, especially Shane Victorino, who returned from a strained right hamstring on Saturday.
"That's going to have a different effect I think physically on him," Farrell said. "And we'll monitor that day to day."
On Sunday, third baseman Xander Bogaerts and first baseman Mike Napoli received a day off against Royals righty Yordano Ventura. Napoli gave way to lefty Mike Carp.
The versatility of utility man Brock Holt allows Farrell to give players time off. Holt has played almost every position this season -- except pitcher and catcher -- and he has played every inning May 23.
"There were a lot of firsts for him this year, and the way he's handled everything defensively, now we're finding ways keep his bat and the lineup and are not reluctant to change his position by the day," Farrell said.
With that flexibility, Farrell said it's nice to give guys a heads up as to when they'll sit. Players are kept in the loop at least a day in advance.
Dustin Pedroia isn't getting any scheduled rest, though. He's played in all but one game this season and missed just two in 2013. Last Sunday against the Astros, with the Red Sox leading by eight runs in the sixth, Pedroia sat the final three innings. Farrell said the club will try to get the second baseman some more rest at the end of games.
"We know that he doesn't like to come out of games," Farrell said. "There might be a time over the next two to three weeks where there might be a day in there."
• With a win on Sunday, the Red Sox would pick up their first series sweep since June 16-18 against the Twins. Prior to that, Boston swept a four-game set from Atlanta during the last week of May, followed by a three-game sweep of Tampa Bay.
• Opposing batters have swung at 54.3 percent of Koji Uehara's pitches entering Sunday, the fourth-highest mark among relievers in the Majors, according to FanGraphs. What makes that impressive, though, is that batters have made contact on just 65.1 percent of his pitches, second in the Majors among relievers behind only the Reds' Aroldis Chapman.
Steve Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.