If the Red Sox clinch the American League East, will they rest people? Or would they try to surpass the Rangers to get the No. 1 seed?
Don't forget that the Red Sox will have three days without a game between the regular-season finale and Game 1 of the Division Series. For that reason, I don't think getting guys rest will be that big a deal. In 2013, the Red Sox went for home-field advantage, and they got it, and I think it was an important factor for them in the AL Championship Series against the Tigers.
Fenway is a special place in October, and it's tough for opponents to win there. I'd think the Red Sox want to play as many games there as possible. That said, John Farrell will rest players who might be dealing with nagging injuries or are suffering from fatigue. But the Red Sox will likely put a representative team out there every game for the rest of the regular season.
Who is most likely going to be the No. 3 starter going into the postseason?
Eduardo Rodriguez looks determined to win that spot, and he has the best pure stuff of the three candidates. The lefty has a 2.89 ERA in September, and he looks more confident each time he takes the mound. I'm guessing he will get Game 3, with Clay Buchholz going in Game 4, if necessary. If the Red Sox go down 2-1 in the Division Series, they could come back with David Price or Rick Porcello on three days' rest in Game 4. Whichever of the two aces pitches Game 2 could then pitch Game 5 on regular rest, due to the way the schedule breaks.
Why did the Sox wait so long to bring Joe Kelly up when they were struggling with Junichi Tazawa?
The main reason was roster flexibility. You want to keep as many good pitchers in the organization as you can. The Red Sox couldn't option Tazawa to the Minor Leagues like they did with Kelly. They would have had to release him. Now they've had both pitchers available to them in September instead of just one of them. Kelly has been dominant of late, and he will be asked to get his share of big outs going forward.
Will Andrew Benintendi get the starting left-field spot in the playoffs?
Without question, Benintendi will start against all righties and maybe even some lefties in the postseason. He gives you a competitive at-bat every time he is up, and he has already shown the ability to get a key hit with the game on the line.
With Christian Vazquez calling a 23-strikeout game, will he get a spot on the postseason roster?
I love the intrigue surrounding this one. The Red Sox have three backup catchers who all have plenty of experience at the Major League level. How do you decide which one to take with you to the postseason? Vazquez is the most gifted defender among the group, but he's obviously had a tough time with the bat this year. Then again, Bryan Holaday and Ryan Hanigan haven't done much offensively either this season. I'm going to say Vazquez.
How much longer are the Red Sox going to play Travis Shaw?
Farrell is waiting for someone to get hot and grab the majority of the at-bats at third base. Shaw hasn't been able to sustain anything for a while. Aaron Hill has performed better in September, but it seems like the Red Sox view him mainly as someone to hit against lefties. Brock Holt is definitely in the mix for more playing time at third. And it was interesting to hear Farrell say the other day that Pablo Sandoval could actually return this season and play a role. If Shaw doesn't get something going this week, I think you'll see a Holt/Hill platoon in the postseason.
The 2017 Red Sox's starting infield will be __, __ and __.