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Boston Red Sox V: That’s The Magic Number

Posted By Cliff Corcoran On September 25, 2009 @ 4:58 pm In Cliff Corcoran,Game Thread,Series Preview | Comments Disabled

The Yankees went 2-12 against the Angels and Red Sox in the first half of this season. Since then, they’ve gone 9-2 against those same two teams. Tonight, they return home from Anaheim having taken two of three from the Halos despite spending most of that series auditioning borderline candidates for the postseason roster, which they’ll do again tonight with Joba Chamberlain making the start. So much for the absurd meme that the Yankees couldn’t beat the “big boys.”

The Yankees clinched a playoff berth in Anaheim and enter this weekend’s series against the Red Sox leading Boston by five-games in the loss column with just just nine games left on the schedule. That puts their magic number at 5 and sets the Yanks up to clinch the division with a weekend sweep. Not that I expect that to happen. Still, just one win in this series would reduce the magic number to 3 and a series win would drop it to 1. Meanwhile, even if the Red Sox sweep the series, the Yankees could clinch by simply splitting their remaining games if the Sox lose just twice in their remaining seven games against the admittedly weak Blue Jays and Indians.

So, once again, the Yankees’ goals in this series are to keep everyone healthy and sort out the final few spots on the postseason roster. Speaking of which, the Red Sox’s current roster is at the end of this post, but below the jump I’ll take a stab at projecting their likely postseason roster.

Let’s start the Red Sox’s postseason roster with the sure things:

The starting nine:

1B – Kevin Youkilis (R)
2B – Dustin Pedroia (R)
SS – Alex Gonzalez (R)
3B – Mike Lowell (R)
C – Victor Martinez (R)
RF – J.D. Drew (L)
CF – Jacoby Ellsbury (L)
LF – Jason Bay (R)
DH – David Ortiz (L)

Key bench players:

S – Jason Varitek (C)
L – Casey Kotchman (1B)
R – Rocco Baldelli (OF)

Guaranteed rotation members:

R – Josh Beckett
L – Jon Lester
R – Clay Buchholz

And top bullpen arms:

R – Jonathan Papelbon
L – Hideki Okajima
R – Dan Bard
L – Billy Wagner
R – Takashi Saito
R – Ramon Ramirez

That’s 21 men. The remaining four will include an infielder (either Jed Lowrie or Nick Green), a fourth starter (either Daisuke Matsuzaka or Tim Wakefield), the rejected starter as a long-man in the bullpen, and either a 12th pitcher Manny Delcarmen, third catcher George Kottaras, or the other infielder. With only pitchers on the disabled list, the Sox can’t loophole speedy outfielder Joey Gathright onto the roster as a pinch-runner as Gathright wasn’t called up until September 1.

As for who the Sox are bringing to the Bronx this weekend . . .

Boston Red Sox

2009 Record: 91-61 (.599)
2009 Pythagorean Record: 90-62 (.592)

Manager: Terry Francona
General Manager: Theo Epstein

Home Ballpark (multi-year Park Factors): Fenway Park (108/106)

Changes:

  • Tim Wakefield, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jed Lowrie, Rocco Baldelli, and George Kottaras activated from DL
  • IF Chris Woodward, OFs Joey Gathright and Josh Reddick, C Dusty Brown, and LHP Hunter Jones called-up
  • Billy Wagner acquired from Mets
  • Junichi Tazawa placed on 60-day DL
  • Brad Penny released

25-man Roster:

1B – Kevin Youkilis (R)
2B – Dustin Pedroia (R)
SS – Alex Gonzalez (R)
3B – Mike Lowell (R)
C – Victor Martinez (R)
RF – J.D. Drew (L)
CF – Jacoby Ellsbury (L)
LF – Jason Bay (R)
DH – David Ortiz (L)

Bench:

S – Jason Varitek (C)
L – Casey Kotchman (1B)
S – Jed Lowrie (SS)
R – Nick Green (SS)
R – Rocco Baldelli (OF)
R – Brian Anderson (OF)
L – Josh Reddick (OF)
L – Joey Gathright (OF)
R – Chris Woodward (UT)
L – George Kottaras (C)
R – Dusty Brown (C)

Rotation:

R – Josh Beckett
R – Clay Buchholz
L – Jon Lester
R – Daisuke Matsuzaka
R – Tim Wakefield
R – Paul Byrd

Bullpen:

R – Jonathan Papelbon
L – Hideki Okajima
R – Dan Bard
L – Billy Wagner
R – Manny Delcarmen
R – Takashi Saito
R – Ramon Ramirez
R – Michael Bowden
L – Hunter Jones

60-day DL: RHP – Junichi Tazawa (groin), RHP – Miguel Gonzalez (TJ)

Typical Lineup:

L – Jacoby Ellsbury (CF)
R – Dustin Pedroia (2B)
S – Victor Martinez (1B/C)
R – Kevin Youkilis (1B/3B)
L – David Ortiz (DH)
R – Jason Bay (LF)
R – Mike Lowell (3B)
L – J.D. Drew (RF)
R – Alex Gonzalez (SS)


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