The latest on the American League champions:
- When the Red Sox go on the road to face the Dodgers in the World Series, they could feature an interesting defensive alignment. Speaking with reporters (including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald) on Saturday, Cora revealed that the Red Sox are considering deploying right fielder Mookie Betts at second base in Los Angeles, where they won’t have the luxury of using a designated hitter. In doing so, the Red Sox would keep DH/outfielder J.D. Martinez’s elite bat in the lineup. No matter what, Martinez is going to play, though the team’s not giving any thought to putting him at first base, Mastrodonato reports. Martinez has next to no experience at first, whereas Betts played plenty of second base as a prospect and most recently lined up at the keystone 14 times as a major league rookie in 2014.
- Left knee issues have shelved Red Sox right-hander Steven Wright since Sept. 29, but the knuckleballer hasn’t ruled out a World Series return, per Mastrodonato. Although the Red Sox had to remove him from their ALDS roster when the playoffs began two weeks ago, Wright has been throwing since then, and he issued a fairly encouraging update Saturday. “My arm and body feels really good, just a matter of can my knee withstand the pressure of throwing off a mound consistently?” Wright said. He’ll “go through a few tests” before the Red Sox decide whether to include him on their World Series roster, according to Cora. Wright threw a short simulated game Sunday to help determine the status of his knee, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe tweets. The 34-year-old was an asset out of the Red Sox’s bullpen during the regular season, when he notched a 1.52 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .191/.303/.314 line.
- It hasn’t been a banner postseason for all-world Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, who has allowed at least one earned run in four of five appearances. However, Kimbrel may have begun a turnaround in his most recent outing Thursday, when he threw a scoreless, hitless frame with two strikeouts and a walk to close out the Astros in the ALCS. Kimbrel revealed afterward that he had been tipping his pitches – something former closer Eric Gagne first noticed while watching from home, Ben Harris of The Athletic writes (subscription required). “There’s quite a few people, but actually Eric Gagne texted me last night,” Kimbrel said. “He’s good friends with AC (Alex Cora), and he texted me and gave me some advice.” As part of an interesting piece that’s worth checking out, Harris goes on to break down what Kimbrel was doing wrong and how he fixed it.