"If you looked at our last couple of series with Kansas City, which is a real running team, you'll find we did a good job," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "We picked them off about three times. I don't know that we'll be able to get Ellsbury. That's a Catch-22. You can't get consumed by that as a pitcher, because then you make too many mistakes with the hitter. We'll have a plan to contain them. It's not going to be a perfect deal
"I really don't think that taking pitches has much to do with this. Everybody makes a big deal about it. The Red Sox have terrific at-bats. If you throw strikes, taking pitches is a good thing for us. The Red Sox are really good at fouling a lot of pitches off. That's what gets the pitch count up, not working the pitcher."
Farrell and Ellsbury said essentially same thing.
"Guys aren't going up there looking for walks," Ellsbury said. "It's about each guy trying to deliver a good at-bat."
Ellsbury missed 16 games in September with a compression fracture in his right foot and, well, we've been through this before. Skeptics have wondered about Ellsbury. Injury prone? Slow to recover? Whatever. Farrell saw him in the last series against Baltimore, playing like he hadn't missed a beat, and he knew he'd be fine for the postseason.
"I come in every day for treatment and I'm happy how it's coming along," said Ellsbury, set to become a free agent after the season. "It's not where I want it to be but it will heal eventually with rest. I want to be out there now playing regardless how it feels."
Victorino always seems to play regardless of how it feels. He was a catalyst on the Phillies' 2008 and 2009 World Series teams. After a down year with the Dodgers in 2012, he signed a three-year, $39 million deal with the Red Sox that is turning out to be black-and-blue gold for Ben Cherington.
A switch-hitter who is only batting right after a hamstring problem, Victorino was hit 11 times in 115 appearances righty vs. righty. Detroit is righty heavy, so figure more bumps and bruises. Victorino gets hit. Victorino runs into walls. He has said he has played this way since Little League in Hawaii.
"Do I like getting hit? Heck, no," Victorino said Thursday to reporters. (He did not attend the media session Friday.) "It hurts. But I've got to get on base. Am I close to the plate? Yes. I'm not going to move."
Victorino has always been a high-octane player. Now it seems like all the Red Sox are high-octane. So much has been made of the fun the Red Sox have had in 2013. It was interesting to listen to Jon Lester talk Friday about how this group sits on planes, pitchers and hitters, talking shop, talking baseball. Yep, high energy, but high IQ, too.
"We had a barbecue at David's house [Thursday night watching the Tigers-A's finale]," Ellsbury said. "I'm telling you we are fired up to play this series."runtime:topic> finale]," Ellsbury said. "I'm telling you we are fired up to play this series."