Just play the games
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said he is not consumed between the crossover races. Entering the night, the Sox held a commanding eight-game lead on the Rangers in the Wild Card standings, while trailing the Yankees by five games (four in the loss column) in the American League East.
Does he go all out and try to win the division, or does he start resting the troops in anticipation of the playoffs?
“You know what, I think the best way to move forward is just play. I understand your point. There may come a time when you have to – I guess I hope we do have to make some decisions,” Francona said. “That would mean things have gone real well. But right now, no. we pretty much have a good rotation going with the way our guys are playing. We gave our pitchers an extra day with inserting Wake. We haven’t over-done anybody in the bullpen anyway so no, we just try to win.”
How much extra value would there be for the Red Sox if they won the division and got an extra playoff game at home?
“You know what, I don’t know. I really don’t know. I think the most important thing is to try to go in healthy, and having your pitching somewhat lined up,” Francona said. “I think as we’ve proven in the past, we’ve been a much better team at home during the regular season. I think that’s stating the obvious. I also think when we’ve gotten to the postseason in the past, we have been OK on the road. To get to that point, it normally comes down to having your pitching lined up. I think we’ve proven that.
“The year we didn’t [in 2005], Chicago got rid of us in a hurry. I guess that’s more what we care about. Last year, things actually looked pretty good and then Beckett had that oblique and that really changed the way our staff looked in a hurry.”
The Red Sox should have a much better handle on what their playoff fate will be after they complete a three-game series in New York on Sunday.
“Wherever our plan takes us, it will take us. We’ll see,” Francona said.