BOSTON -- For almost all of the regular season, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and left fielder Daniel Nava were primary starters for the Red Sox.
Of late, they've both been used more as reserves. Manager John Farrell has liked the way his lineup has looked with catcher David Ross and left fielder Jonny Gomes, so he's gone in that direction more in the postseason, including Wednesday night's potential Game 6 clincher.
Still, it hasn't been easy for Farrell to tell those players about their roles being reduced.
In Saltalamacchia's case, he's not only been an important offensive component for the Red Sox, but he also anchored the pitching staff for much of the year.
"That's the tough thing, where you see what a guy has done through the course of the year and has earned the right to be on the field," said Farrell. "And yet for specific reasons, you'll see a matchup, we're better able to attack a matchup in a certain way."
Saltalamacchia has struggled at the plate in the postseason, while Ross has come up with some important hits in games he's played.
"And yet, as I mentioned to Salty, we've had a few guys in our lineup that we're trying to get started, get jump-started offensively. With Rossy back there, he's given us a spark offensively," Farrell said. "He might not like it, which I respect. I wouldn't want him to like it. But it's also a different time of the year. That sense of urgency that we talked about leading into the postseason is here now."
As a first-time manager in the postseason, Farrell has reached out to former Sox manager Terry Francona at times.
"Yeah, Tito's the one guy I've gone back and forth with on some things, but it hasn't been in great detail," Farrell said. "But no, it's been more from observation and maybe just some gut feel of what might be coming ahead and the urgency, and that was helpful just standing next to Tito for those four years."
If the Red Sox win this World Series, Farrell will join Francona as the only living men to manage the tradition-laden franchise to championship glory.
"In his own way, Tito, he can send some messages that might be a little bit different to others, but having been around him so much and when he says certain things, you take it to heart," Farrell said. "But we talked more probably in the Division and the Championship Series rather than this series.
"We always reach out to one another, either in a brief text or an occasional phone call where you have a chance to ask him some questions. But I can't say that it's really been anything outside the norm between he and I, as we've gone through the postseason here."