BOSTON -- There were a couple of compelling reasons why David Ross was inserted into the lineup for the Red Sox in Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Rays on Saturday.
Though the sample size is small, Ross has had prior success against David Price, going 2-for-5 with two homers. Conversely, Jarrod Saltalamacchia is 1-for-14 against the ace lefty and hit just .218 against southpaws this season.
There's also this: Ross and Boston's Game 2 starting pitcher John Lackey have worked well in tandem in their two starts together this season. Lackey's ERA in his two starts with Ross was 2.38.
"Small sample, but he's had a few at-bats and he's swung the bat OK against Price," said manager John Farrell. "I think he and John have pared up well. We want to keep him in the mix. He's important to us. These are the situations we signed him for -- against a left-handed starter, a good one, and taking advantage of David's abilities."
Though Ross missed a couple of months this season due to multiple concussions, he has been a highly-respected player within the clubhouse, both for his preparation and his personality.
Well-rested Uehara could be lengthened out
BOSTON -- When you consider all of the factors, it should come as no surprise to see closer Koji Uehara pitch at least some of the eighth inning in Saturday's Game 2 against the Rays in the American League Division Series.
The dominant righty hasn't pitched a real game since Sunday, though he did get an inning in Wednesday's simulated game.
And the Red Sox are off on Monday. Uehara has often said that the one thing he struggles with is when he doesn't get used enough.
"If we're in the eighth inning and hopefully we're trying to preserve a lead, he's ready to go, as is everyone in our bullpen," manager John Farrell said.
In the ninth inning on Friday, with a 10-run lead, Farrell opted to go to veteran Ryan Dempster, who has recently transitioned from the starting rotation.
As Dempster continues to regain comfort in the bullpen, where he worked from 2004-07, he could get some higher leverage situations.
"Last night, I thought was the first time he was a little bit more crisp," Farrell said. "It's just allowed that split against left-handers to be a little bit more effective. But yeah, he was everything we could have hoped in an inning of work."
• One underrated aspect the Red Sox have at home is the comfort their outfielders have playing the Green Monster compared to the opposition. Sean Rodriguez, in particular, had a rough Game 1 trying to judge the caroms.
"Our work in the outfield is daily with balls off the wall," said Farrell, "because you've got so many different angles. You get team plates [the ball bounces off of]. You've got different things that are hanging on that, so there's going to be a lot of potential caroms that are going to be inconsistent. So it's a matter of getting comfortable with a space that an outfielder plays with out there. That's part of why it's home-field advantage."
• Though the Red Sox were happy to win Game 1, it doesn't mean a whole lot from a historical perspective. In the 16 previous times the Sox have won Game 1 in October, they are 8-7-1 in the series.
• Despite being 0-for-10 against Price, the left-handed-hitting Stephen Drew again got the nod at shortstop in Game 2. Right-handed-hitting Xander Bogaerts has never faced Price.