|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
Boston’s chances of winning the division title were small heading into New York and dropping the opener all but forced them to focus on the Wild Card. The Red Sox downshifted into a resting for the playoffs mode and will stay in that frame of mind as they should continue to play more of the backups including Josh Reddick, Brian Anderson, and Rocco Baldelli. They need to sharpen the second tier guys in case they are needed and need to rest up the guys like Mike Lowell. This coming series with the Blue Jays might look more like a showcase of future stars as the Red Sox try to keep this balance.
As for the Blue Jays, the Red Sox have won the season series already with an 11-4 mark, including a perfect 6-0 record at home. The Red Sox need to grab a couple wins over the next week to ensure they get the Wild Card and are not totally deflated heading into the playoffs.
Josh Beckett (2 GS, 10.1 IP, 12 ER, 14 H, 13 K, 6 BB vs TOR), who has been owned by the Blue Jays, will get a chance at redemption against Scott Richmond (1-0, 7.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 H, 7 K, 2 BB vs BOS), who has struggled of late.
Clay Buchholz (3-0, 20.0 IP, 3 ER, 13 H, 16 K, 6 BB vs TOR) has pitched his best ball against the Jays and faces rookie Ricky Romero (0-3, 17.1 IP, 17 ER, 26 H, 20 K, 17 BB vs BOS), who the Red Sox have dominated.
Tim Wakefield (1-1, 12.2 IP, 7 ER, 14 H, 8 K, 6 BB vs TOR) has something of a final audition for a playoff roster spot against ace Roy Halladay (1-2, 20.0 IP, 9 ER, 21 H, 20 K, 3 BB vs BOS).
The Birds have hit only .239 with nine home runs against the Red Sox this season, so it is not surprising that there are not many who have done well against the Red Sox this season. Lyle Overbay is hitting .319 and Marco Scutaro is hitting .283. Adam Lind and Rod Barajas are the only two Blue Jays with more than one home run in the series this season, each with two. Vernon Wells (.304, 2 HR in September), Aaron Hill (.293, 3), and Adam Lind (.287, 5) are finishing the season strong.
The Red Sox should lock up a playoff spot at home against the Jays. Despite mixing in the “B-team,” the Red Sox should take two of three games in the series.