BOSTON -- With a pair of lefties, Matt Moore and David Price, due up against the Red Sox in Games 1 and 2 of the American League Division Series, the Red Sox will adjust accordingly.
And that means Jonny Gomes will get a chance.
Manager John Farrell confirmed that Gomes, who has a career OPS almost 150 points higher against lefties than righties (.879 vs. .733), will be starting in left field for both games.
"He's a fierce competitor, one who has a knack for the key moment, whether it's late in the ballgame or a pivotal time with a rally offensively for us," Farrell said of Gomes.
Gomes, who signed a two-year, $10 million deal with the Red Sox in the offseason, had hopes of being an everyday player this season. However, the emergence of Daniel Nava and Mike Carp as legitimate offensive threats took some at-bats out of Gomes' hands. He predominantly got the starts against left-handed pitching, and he responded with eight homers in 161 at-bats (about one homer every 20 at-bats) and a .795 OPS.
Gomes is also quite familiar with the Rays. He was drafted by Tampa Bay in 2001 and stayed there until joining the Reds in '09.
"The organization gave me the opportunity to start, and it was the organization that had faith in me," Gomes said. "That being said, I want to kick their [tails].
"I definitely don't dig down harder against these guys. There aren't too many familiar faces over there."
Farrell also announced that Jarrod Saltalamacchia would take a seat on the bench for one of the first two games, paving way for David Ross to get a start behind the plate. Considering Saltalamacchia is just 1-for-17 against Price and Ross is 2-for-5 with two homers off him, Game 2 would be the likely platform for the switch.
Feeling energized, Doubront excited to pitch out of 'pen
BOSTON -- It looks like Felix Doubront will be on the Red Sox's postseason roster after all.
Coming off his best season as a Major Leaguer, the left-handed starter said he'll make the transition to the bullpen to help the Red Sox against the Rays in the American League Division Series, which starts Friday at 3 p.m. ET on TBS. While the team has yet to announce its final roster and Doubront wouldn't confirm his place on it, all signs point to Doubront's inclusion.
"The possibility is yeah, they have me as a reliever," Doubront said. "I'm excited to make that roster and help the team win."
Manager John Farrell had previously expressed concerns over Doubront's willingness to make the adjustment, especially with so little time to test out the new role. Doubront made just two relief appearances this season, and only one in the final three months when he allowed five earned runs over 1 1/3 innings against the Orioles on Sunday.
However, Doubront said he's feeling much more energetic than he was in the season's final month, when he made just three starts as he worked through fatigue. Working out of relief could actually help Doubront stay fresh.
"You have to save as a starter, you have to save more velocity," he said. "But relieving, you give everything for one hitter, one inning, two innings. It's fun."
If Doubront does indeed make the roster, it would likely push Matt Thornton out, considering the Red Sox also have lefties Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales. Thornton held lefties to a .235 average this season, though he was hardly used down the stretch, pitching just two innings over the final two weeks while allowing two runs.
Doubront held lefties to a .247 average and righties to a .267 average this season.
Sox more than prepared to deal with Rays' shift
BOSTON -- Mike Carp remembers the Rays trying to put a defensive shift on him last year.
"They don't pull that on me," he said. "They tried one time. I went to bunt. If they were going to give me the hit, I was going to take it. I just showed it."
Carp showed bunt, and that was it. Carp hasn't seen the shift since, but against manager Joe Maddon, nobody is safe from some kind of defensive shifting.
"Obviously you try to gauge where position players are on the field, but most of the time, it's pretty straight up with me," Carp said. "I use the whole field. I'll take what they give me."
David Ortiz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes and Mike Napoli have all been shifted on in some variation by the Rays, who seem to shift as often as any team in baseball.
Ortiz has done just fine with it. He's hit .289 with a .968 OPS in his career against the Rays.
The others, however, haven't fared so well against Tampa Bay.
In their careers against the Rays, Saltalamacchia has hit .178, Nava has hit .189, Napoli has hit .217 and Gomes has hit .232.
"You just have to open up your lane by doing certain things during the season," said Saltalamacchia, "and once playoffs start, you have to do what you've been doing all year round."