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Kimbrel may get save opportunities in 8th inning

September 19, 2018

NEW YORK -- One thing you could see at times down the stretch is closer Craig Kimbrel coming in before the ninth inning.Manager Alex Cora wants Kimbrel to be as prepared as possible for situations that could arise in the postseason."Yeah, I mean there's x-amount of innings that we're going

NEW YORK -- One thing you could see at times down the stretch is closer Craig Kimbrel coming in before the ninth inning.
Manager Alex Cora wants Kimbrel to be as prepared as possible for situations that could arise in the postseason.
"Yeah, I mean there's x-amount of innings that we're going to be using him the rest of the season," said Cora. "It all depends obviously how the games go and all that, and we also talked about how to use him in different spots so he can get used to the fact of getting up early and coming in earlier in the game.
"Obviously we don't have control of the game, hopefully we have leads in the eighth inning and he can come in earlier just to -- I hate to say it's a rehearsal- but I think as far as routine and stuff like that."
The Red Sox have used Kimbrel for four outs five times this season. All of his other appearances have been three outs or less.
Cora will also try to mix starter Nathan Eovaldi into the bullpen mix before the playoffs start, most likely on Sept. 28 against the Yankees.

Eovaldi throws in the upper 90s and sometimes touches 100 mph. However, Cora said he doesn't expect to use him in the middle of an inning in either the regular season or postseason.
Sale plan solidified
Cora has solidified the plan for ace Chris Sale for the rest of the regular season. The lefty will start on Friday night against the Indians, and then make his final start of the regular season on Sept. 26 against the Orioles.
Sale will have eight days of rest prior to his start in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Oct. 5 at Fenway Park.

"He'll have an aggressive bullpen [session] either Sunday, the last day of the season, or Monday and line him up for the Division Series," said Cora.
In his first two starts back from the disabled list, Sale went an inning against the Blue Jays and then three innings against the Mets. He will probably go four to five innings against the Indians, and perhaps six for his final start against Baltimore.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.