Before Game 2 of the ALDS, which didn't end nicely, I got a chance to talk to BostonGlobe reporter Chad Finn. He answered questions about this current series and of course, Big Papi.
Here is the transcript from the interview:
Q: Have you noticed anything different with Bogaerts lately? He's been struggling at the plate is there an injury we are unaware about?
Photo Courtesy of Mark L Baer/USA Today
Nothing like an injury that I know of, some people have said that maybe he's tired or something else that we don't know about. He seems like he's having issues with breaking balls away which was the problem with him for much of the 2014 season and seems to be coming back to get him at the wrong time. I don't expect it to be a long term thing with him, you saw the year he had last year and had great numbers this year but slumped at the end. Just seems like real bad timing for him.
Q: I've seen a lot of people pushing for Holt to move to SS and playing Shaw while benching Bogaerts and maybe even benching Jackie Bradley Jr as well. Would you agree with this move?
No not at all. I know Bradley and Bogaerts have slumped but Shaw has hit about .200 since the end of May and Holt is not a shortstop. Even if these guys aren't hitting, Bradley is one best defensive center fielders in baseball. We saw that value [in Game 1] when he took away what looked like an extra base hit or maybe home run with a leaping catch. Boagerts is a better than adequate shortstop, defensive metrics hasn't ranked him very high this year but he's somebody if the ball is hit his way, he's still pretty good about it. Buchholz is fairly range-less as an infielder who hasn't played a lot there this season. That would reek of a panic move if they benched those two guys.
Q: Speaking of Clay, are you confident with him in Game 3?
No, not really. I mean he's been good in the second half and pitched his best as the seasons gone on here but we know him, he's an enigma. He's real up and down and the manager of the opposing dugout knows him pretty well and knows how he pitches. It seems pretty dire that Clay Buchholz has been called upon to save the season. Its not a role he's really thrived in.
Q: Think [the Red Sox] have any interest in bringing Clay back next year?
Yeah they'll pick up his option, I'll be pretty confident about that. Its an absolutely horrible free agent class of pitchers first of all. He might be one of the better guys, maybe the best guy on the market based on being established. $13 million for a confident starting pitcher these days seems to be the going rate, so I'd expect they do pick up that option and Clay Buchholz will outlive us all here in Boston.
Q: Say David Price pitches a great Game 2 and this series reaches 5 games, would you give the ball back to Price or Porcello? (Obviously asked before Game 2)
It depends, not sure what the rest situation would be but all things being equal I think you give Porcello the ball. He's 9-3 on the road which is pretty good. He looked a little like 2015 Rick Porcello in his first start, he got the ball up but we've seen enough of him over the season to have some faith in him. If he's on regular rest I think he's the guy you go with.
Q: Did the crowd get to Porcello at all [in Game 1]?
Not so much the crowd, he's a veteran guy, he's 27 years old and has been in the majors since he's 20. I don't think he's easily rattled I think he was more rattled by the fact that he couldn't get his sinker down and leaving the ball up in the middle of the strike zone. Thats something that good offensive teams like the Indians and even lesser teams will thrive on. He got knocked around a bit and I think thats what jarred him.
Q: Would you rank David Ortiz's season this year the best final season of anyone?
Yeah, Ted Williams' was pretty good as well, but what Ortiz has done with the league lead in RBIs and almost hit his age in home runs with 38. Its as good as you can possibly imagine being one of the best seasons of his career. Its cool he's going out on top if it works out that way although he's going to have to enjoy it and have another postseason moment here.
Photo Courtesy of Charles Krupa/AP
Q: David Ortiz or Ted Williams, who was more important to the Red Sox franchise?
Oh its Ortiz. Ted Williams was the greatest hitter to ever live and best player in Red Sox history, easily. But David Ortiz is the guy you waited for for those 86 years and all those disappointments in October he's the guy who came through. Ted Williams hit 200 and doesn't have as many World Series. Yaz made the last out, as great as a clutch hitter he was, in '67, '75 and '78. Mo Vaughn really struggled in the 2005 playoffs and Manny couldn't do it by himself before Ortiz got here. [Ortiz] is the guy who delivered the big hit in the big moment and did it over and over and over again. To me, its really no competition he's the most important player the Red Sox ever had.
Hopefully the Red Sox can pull it together Sunday and start yet another postseason comeback. I want to send a big thank you to Chad Finn for taking time to talk baseball with me. You can also find his favorite David Ortiz moment in an upcoming #PapiMoment.
Thoughts or comments? Let me know below or find me on Twitter! Also make sure to follow Chad Finn at @GlobeChadFinn