Why Chris Woodward didn't make the Red Sox' postseason roster

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Last fall, when postseason rosters were being finalized, the only real discussion in Boston was about a utility guy, with Nick Green, Jed Lowrie and Chris Woodward all in the mix.  Green was hurt, and Terry Francona said that they needed to limit Lowrie as well.  So you figured Chris Woodward — who was away from the team because of the birth of his son — would be the guy, what with guys usually only missing a day or too for paternity leave. 

But Woodward didn’t make the cut and Lowrie did.  The hardcore fans probably knew what was going on, but those of us who don’t spend all day thinking about the Sox didn’t give it a second thought.  Today, however, the story of Chris Woodward and the postseason roster is one of the more interesting things going:

“It went so smoothly, everything was perfect,” Woodward said. “My
mother-in-law was at our house with our other two kids, Sophie and
Mason. I was going to be able to spend a day or two with them all and
go back for the playoffs.”

It stopped going smoothly the next
morning, went Erin’s mother called from the Woodward home. Two-year-old
Mason had a fever, running a temperature of 104 degrees.

“I drove
home and took him to the pediatrician, who took tests and said it was
swine flu,” Woodward said. “They told me he couldn’t be near my wife or
the baby for two weeks. They told me we had to be careful with Mason,
and we all started taking Tamiflu that day.

And it only got worse after that as everyone in the family ended up getting the flu.

Not to diminish his talent too much, but the fact is that Woodward is a guy who could be in or out of the big leagues depending on some fifth level functionary’s mood on any given morning. I know we’d all say that we’d choose family over baseball if we were in his shoes, but the fact that he had the Red Sox calling him, asking whether he could make the postseason roster and was able to tell them “no, no, no, I have to stay home with my family,” despite the risk such a move posed to his baseball career says something pretty good about Woodward.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.