BOSTON -- The one question manager John Farrell had before the postseason was how top prospect Xander Bogaerts would handle pinch-hitting since he has barely done it in his life.
Then came the walk that led to the winning rally in Game 4 of the American League Division Series, and another key walk that led to an insurance run later in that game.
In Game 1 of the AL Championship Series, Bogaerts came on in the late innings for defense and then worked a seven-pitch at-bat with two outs in the ninth, laying off a close 2-2 splitter from Tigers closer Joaquin but ultimately popped out to short to end the game.
"And it was probably right in line with the other at-bats he's had this year," said Farrell. "There's a presence and there's a calmness to it. To me, when he laid off the split from Benoit, I felt like at that point, we've got a chance to get a base hit here. He didn't chase. He didn't show any antsiness or jumpiness in the box, and it goes back to him just being under control."
Now the question is when Bogaerts will get his first postseason start.
Will Middlebrooks, who is playing ahead of Bogaerts at third base, is 3-for-15 this October.
However, Middlebrooks came up with the two-run single that beat Tigers Game 2 starter Max Scherzer back in September. Bogaerts has never faced Scherzer.
"I have to be careful that I'm not looking at one at-bat as the swing vote," Farrell said, "but there's familiarity. Familiarity is important this time of year, in addition to defense and all those things combined."
Gomes, Carp in; Nava, Napoli out of Game 2 lineup
BOSTON -- Manager John Farrell's lineup shuffling for Game 2 of the American League Championship Series on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on FOX had more to do with the man on the mound for the Tigers than the fact his Red Sox had just one hit in Game 1.
Max Scherzer has been perhaps the best starting pitcher in the AL this season, going 21-3 in the regular season and then 2-0 in the AL Division Series against Oakland.
The Red Sox were one of the three teams to beat the ace righty this season, albeit in a tight 2-1 fashion.
In that game, Jonny Gomes had two hits, and that was a factor in him starting Sunday night. Most of the time Gomes starts, it is against a left-hander.
"Kind of going back to the game here in September against Scherzer as well as just wanting to get [Gomes'] energy and his approach in the lineup here today," said Farrell.
That left Daniel Nava, who had the only hit for Boston in Game 1, on the bench.
First baseman Mike Napoli also was not in the lineup for the first time this postseason. Left-handed hitter Mike Carp got the nod in his place.
At this time of year, there are a variety of factors involved when Farrell puts together his lineup.
"The numbers are one thing, but you also take the view of the type of stuff that a guy is going to be seeing with what he handles best," said Farrell. "Numbers are one, and style and approach of a given pitcher is also taken into account."
Drew's brilliant ninth-inning grab not forgotten
BOSTON -- If the Red Sox had come back to win Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Tigers on Saturday, shortstop Stephen Drew's over-the-shoulder catcher in center field could have gone down in the team's postseason lore.
When the ball left Prince Fielder's bat in the top of the ninth with runners on second and third, it seemed like it was blooped into no man's land. It's hard to believe Drew was the one who wound up catching it, especially when you look at the replay and see how far into center field he was.
The grab gave the Red Sox a legitimate chance to win, as they were down just 1-0 at the time. If Drew hadn't come up with it, the Tigers probably would have scored two runs on the play to take a three-run lead.
"Oh, you're not going to see that play made too often and given the timing of it," said manager John Farrell. "In the moment, it was a huge play. And at the time, I felt like it was a potential momentum generator for us from a defensive standpoint where, 'OK, we just saved two runs.' And the crowd was certainly into it. Those are things that you can get some energy off of and it was a hell of a play."
It was probably up there with any defensive play the Red Sox have made this season.
"I thought it was a bloop single," said Farrell. "I thought Jacoby [Ellsbury] would be the one that would be closing ground there, but the way he went back on it and watching the replay, he ended up snowconing it and fortunately he held on. It ranks up there, with a handful of others [this season] that you probably point out."