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October 5, 2017

John Farrell

Houston, Texas - Pregame 1

THE MODERATOR: Take questions, please.

Q. You officially announced a Game 3 starter?
JOHN FARRELL: Yeah, Doug Fister will start Sunday back in Boston.

Q. And what went into that decision?
JOHN FARRELL: A number of things. With the return of David Price and him remaining in the bullpen is one. The way Doug is throwing the ball and the action of the stuff that he has shown or brought to the mound in the starts that he's made for us, that's where we are with Fister on the mound, Game 3.

Q. Nunez, the DH and Ramirez on the bench and then talk about your rested run?
JOHN FARRELL: There was a couple of tough decisions as you could anticipate by the way things shook out. When you look at the number of infielders that are on the roster, it takes into account both Pedroia and Nunez's situation. So felt like we had to carry an extra infielder, and in this case it kept Chris Young off the roster, which personally that was a difficult decision and a conversation that ensued. So out of respect to Chris, just felt like wanted to give him as much and as thorough of an explanation as possible. And then with Austin Maddox, the way he's come on late in the season and thrown the baseball, over Matt Barnes where it became pretty much a head-to-head comparison with taking pretty much maybe the guy that's got more of the hot hand right now. That puts Eddie Rodriguez in the bullpen to go along with David Price as our two left-handers, so that's where we begin things.

Q. How much kind of prep has V-Rod had for the bullpen? And you said at Fenway, that Fister was not someone in consideration he has the most relief innings. Why wasn't he someone you thought could do well in that role?
JOHN FARRELL: You start to factor in recent performance in a couple of these decisions and roster makeup. So that was part of it. Choosing a starter for Game 3 came down pretty much to both Doug and Rick. Felt like going into this series, putting Eddie in the bullpen is a place in which he's pitched out of before and has thrown the ball well. The four games in Boston gave us a little bit of a glimpse into what we would be facing for this series. So you factor in all those things and the placement of individual guys and their roles, that might be a little bit of a shift. But the fact Eddie has pitched out of the bullpen when he's come back from a knee problem, when he's come back from other things, and last year he ended up pitching out of the bullpen in the postseason. So felt like we were comfortable putting a power arm in that bullpen.

Q. With a matchup like today when you have Sale who has the most strike outs in the league and the Astros who strike out the least, in your experience as a pitcher, how does that usually play out when you have that kind of combination?
JOHN FARRELL: It's going to come down to executing and particularly working ahead in the count. I think from all the work that we have done, this team particularly, by virtue of the establishing strike one or working ahead in the count, probably is a bigger swing than some other teams. It's a talented group, we know that. But I can't predict the number of strikeouts that Chris will have today. We know it's a team that strikes out the fewest number of times, we're well aware of that. But we like the fact that any time Chris Sale walks to the mound, our team's got a lot of confidence.

Q. Game 4, I guess you're leaning for Porcello. Is there still a chance of Sale going on three days as well?
JOHN FARRELL: There's a chance. I have no idea what today will bring. So internally you make plans for a work routine for individuals, but then we have to see what transpires in these first two, three games.

Q. As you've seen in the first two Wild Card games, starters have been knocked out very early. You obviously don't want that to happen. But in a worst case scenario, who would be your long guy today?
JOHN FARRELL: Well, that's Rick. He will work out of the bullpen the first two days at a minimum. So that's all right accounted for internally. He's down in the bullpen, so we're equipped to do that.

Q. How much do personal histories against pitchers play into not only who plays, but how you structure your lineup this time of year?
JOHN FARRELL: I can't say we have gone to a major shift away from where placement in the lineup is today as we have dealt with our own challenges internally, whether it's guys missing time, whether it's guys elevated in the lineup where they have responded well, to in Bogey's case, I think we have evolved into a lineup that has been productive, that has put together a very strong final two months of the season. And we're probably pretty reflective of that here today.

Q. Do you normally do a team gathering before the postseason to review players, speak to the group?
JOHN FARRELL: Yeah, there was a brief commentary earlier of quick gathering. More than anything, it was to compliment them on the work that they have done to date, the challenges that we have had to face and how we responded to those. Other than that, though, there was just some comments among us as a team.

Q. What was the driving factor for picking Nunez?
JOHN FARRELL: The personal history, even though he's had two at-bats in the last two weeks or so. But even in those two at-bats, he's swung the bat extremely well. Hanley will be at first base tomorrow against Keuchel. I fully expect that to be the case. We're going to need every guy on our roster. Given what we have come through the last six weeks or so, there's going to be contributions from everyone on this team.

Q. Given that Young isn't on the roster and Keuchel's success against lefties, would Davis be a consideration for any role other than pinch runner?
JOHN FARRELL: At this point I would stick with our outfield as it is right now, yeah. And I'm well aware of Keuchel has been very good against left-handers, yes. But that goes back into the difficulty of the conversation with Chris and that particular decision. We need the coverage on the infield and that kind of guided this particular decision.

THE MODERATOR: All right, thanks, john.

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