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Boston has a three-game set with the Orioles in Baltimore to close the season while the Oakland Athletics, the team chasing the Sox for the top spot in the AL, head to Seattle for three with the Mariners.
Is the top seed in the bag for Boston, and is it time to start resting players for the playoffs? CSNNE’s Sean McAdam joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Gresh & Zolak to sort it all out.
The Red Sox need a combination of two wins or two losses by the A’s (or one of each) to lock it up. McAdam is pretty confident Boston will clinch the top seed over the next few days, as Oakland has struggled against the Mariners this season.
“Seattle is 10-6 against Oakland this year, they have played them tough,” said McAdam. “I’d say this is in pretty good hands, and I know that means a lot to this team; to have the comfort, familiarity and convenience of playing at home, particularly if they make it to the ALCS against Oakland. They would avoid an extra trip to the West Coast, which is significant at this point.”
“As far as the rest, I think they’ll be smart about it,” said McAdam, noting the team limited Jacoby Ellsbury to just three at-bats in his return last night. “Most of these guys like to play, and you are staring at four down days once the season wraps up on Sunday.”
“I think they have the luxury to keep going at about three-quarters speed here,” said McAdam, “which is the proper balance between trying to get a couple of wins to wrap up home field and not pushing these guys.”
While the Red Sox blew out the Rockies Wednesday night, manager John Farrell turned to lefty Franklin Morales for a lefty-lefty situation late in the game. Morales not only struck out Todd Helton, but he picked off the runner at first. Did last night’s appearance win a postseason roster spot for Morales?
“I thought last night sort of wrapped up any questions if he was going to be on the roster. It was trending that way the last couple of weeks. There is life on his fastball,” McAdam said of Morales. “His fastball now is 95-96 and I thought it was telling that Farrell got him and not Thornton for the lefty-lefty matchup. At that point it was a 10-run game, it wasn’t a key ‘have to get this guy out’ situation, but the fact they went to Morales instead of Thornton spoke volumes.”
“I don’t think there is any doubt Franklin Morales will be one of the seven guys in the bullpen,” said McAdam.