BOSTON -- A few quick hits Thursday morning from Fenway Park, where manager John Farrell offered a favorable weather report for today’s split doubleheader, saying the worst of the rain should clear out by 1 o’clock and while we may get an occasional shower afterward, it will be nothing that “will interrupt or stop the game.”
A real-life meteorologist, NECN’s Matt Noyes, said essentially the same thing, and while the tarp remained on the field, skies were brightening and folks were lining up for their Dustin Pedroia bobbleheads.
This is the first doubleheader the Sox have played since last June 18, when they swept the Rays here, 5-1 and 3-1, with Alfredo Aceves the star of Game 1 and Jonny Gomes hitting a walkoff to win Game 2. It would be the last game Aceves would ever win in a Sox uniform; he was permanently banished to Pawtucket less than a month later after a bizarre relief appearance in Seattle, and now is with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate.
Jake Peavy goes in the first game for the Sox, and Farrell made note of how well Peavy has pitched with men in scoring position. The numbers back him up: With RISP, Peavy is holding opposition batters to a .156 average, lowest among all Sox starters, allowing just 5 hits in 32 at-bats. Only one of those hits, a double, went for extra bases.
Felix Doubront is pitching the second game, and the Sox are hoping for greater consistency from the left-hander, who has been KO’d in 2 2/3 innings in two of his last four starts.
The Rays were hoping to avoid playing the postponed game Thursday, preferring the common off day the teams share before the teams’ last series of the season here in late September, but had little recourse but to defer to Boston’s preference.
The collective bargaining agreement has a provision giving the Red Sox and Cubs special dispensation when it comes to rescheduling split double-headers.
This is how it reads:
“...when there is no practical alternative to doing so, the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs shall have the right to reschedule a postponed game as a split doubleheader to be played in, respectively, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, even if the criteria set out in subparagraph (a) above are not met. Scheduling a postponed game as part of a conventional doubleheader will not be considered a practical alternative.”
The provision regarding the Cubs and the Red Sox goes back to the mid-‘90s. It related to their smaller stadium capacities compared with other ballparks, such as the multi-purpose ballparks that were once more prevalent and had far greater capacities.
The Rays and Sox both can add a 26th player for the second game Thursday night. Farrell would not identify that player as of Thursday morning, but it is expected to be a pitcher.
Here's the Sox lineup for Game 1:
1. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
2. Shane Victorino, RF
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Mike Napoli, 1B
5. Jonny Gomes, LF
6. Xander Bogaerts, SS
7. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
8. David Ross, C
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
SP -- Jake Peavy, RHP