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John Farrell isn’t ready to blame last week of season on current plight

10.07.16 at 9:04 pm ET
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John Farrell. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

John Farrell. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — Now that the Red Sox are one loss away from seeing their season come to an end, people want answers regarding how it got to this point.

The team that won 11 games in a row in late September bears no resemblance to the one which has now lost two straight in the American League Division Series to the Indians at Progressive Field.

Some want to suggest that the way the Red Sox played the last two series of the season, five of their last six regular season games, led them to this point. Their manager would disagree.

“No, we had a chance to regroup, as everyone does going into the postseason,” Farrell said after his team’s 6-0 loss to the Indians, Friday. “I thought we came in prepared. We understood what was ahead of us. We fought [Thursday] night despite the number of maybe swing-and-miss to some of the at-bats, and weren’t able to cash in on some opportunities.

“But to link this back to the final week of the regular season, I wouldn’t go that far.”

Since the end of their 11-game winning streak, the Red Sox are now 1-7, having scored just 21 runs, hitting .199 with a .619 OPS. Their starting pitchers have totaled a 5.53 ERA over the eight games, going more than six innings just once.

“Backs against the wall,” said Farrell, whose team will send out Clay Buchholz for the Game 3 start Sunday. “It’s pretty clear what lies ahead of us. We go home down 0-2. Buchholz on the mound Sunday with an attitude of no tomorrow.”

Closing Time: Red Sox 1 loss away from elimination after Game 2 horror show

10.07.16 at 7:58 pm ET
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The Red Sox find themselves on the verge of elimination. (Rich Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox find themselves on the verge of elimination. (Rich Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — This was a disaster.

The idea that the Red Sox’ American League Division Series Game 1 loss at Progressive Field was simply an opportunity for John Farrell’s team to get it’s postseason feet wet went out the window in a hurry in Friday afternoon. Instead the Sox ended up drowning, and are heading back to Fenway Park one loss away from elimination because of it.

Everything that could have gone wrong in the Red Sox’ 6-0 loss to the Indians pretty much did, starting with the performance of starting pitcher David Price.

Price lasted just 3 1/3 innings and 65 pitches, allowing five runs while watching postseason ERA as a starter climb to 5.74 in nine outings. He gave way to reliever Matt Barnes with two runners aboard.

The Red Sox’ lefty allowed six hits, none bigger than Lonnie Chisenhall’s three-run home run in the second inning. The line-drive over the right field wall gave the Indians a four-run lead after just two innings, which proved more than enough for Cleveland starter Corey Kluber.

That leads us to the other major problem for the Red Sox, their offense.

Kluber, who hadn’t thrown more than 60 pitches since Sept. 21 due to a hamstring issue, dominated the Sox bats. The former Cy Young Award winner gave up just three hits over seven innings, striking out seven. The righty left with two on and nobody out in the eighth inning.

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David Price’s ALDS Game 2 outing ends after just 10 outs

10.07.16 at 6:22 pm ET
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David Price had another rough postseason outing, Friday. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

David Price had another rough postseason outing Friday. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — This certainly didn’t do anything to help the narrative that followed David Price to Boston.

The Red Sox lefty lasted just 3 1/3 innings against the Indians in his ALDS Game 2 start Friday afternoon, giving way to Matt Barnes with one out in the fourth inning and two runners on (one of which would score).

Price finished his day allowing five runs, pushing his career postseason ERA to 5.54. He has a 5.74 ERA in his nine starts in the playoffs.

Price finished his day allowing six hits, with Lonnie Chisenhall’s second-inning, three-run homer over the right field wall serving as the costliest.

The outing comes one day after Red Sox starter Rick Porcello allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings.

The Red Sox trailed 5-0 after four innings.

Lonnie Chisenhall was one who got away from Red Sox in 2008 draft, and he made them pay in Game 2 of the ALDS

10.07.16 at 5:28 pm ET
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Indians right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall hits a 3-run homer off David Price of the Red Sox in Game 2 of the ALDS on Friday. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

Indians right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall hits a 3-run homer off David Price of the Red Sox in Game 2 of the ALDS on Friday. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — If things had broken a little differently in the 2008 draft, Lonnie Chisenhall might’ve been hitting a three-run homer for the Red Sox in Friday’s ALDS Game 2 instead of against them, as he just did off of left-hander David Price to give the Indians a 4-0 lead.

The Red Sox were so confident they’d nab Chisenhall with the 30th pick in that draft that they had already cleared the selection with owner John Henry when fate intervened in the form of the Cleveland Indians, picking 29th.

A couple of years ago in my Boston Herald days, Cubs assistant GM Jason McLeod, the former Red Sox scouting director, shared the story of what went wrong.

“He was our guy,” McLeod said. “He was at Fenway the day before the draft. We asked if he thought any other team was on him, and he said no.

“So we’re in the draft room, and the team two picks in front of us (Yankees) selects (Gerrit Cole). John Henry’s in there. We’ve got Chisenhall’s name out and we’re telling him that’s who we’re going to pick, giving him the quick background, the trouble he got into at South Carolina [for robbing a dorm room], and all of that.

“As we’re telling him this, the Cleveland Indians leave their mic open on accident, and Jed [Hoyer], the one who’s going to announce our pick, overhears them saying they’re going to take Chisenhall.

“Meanwhile, Theo (Epstein) and I are outside telling John Henry we’re taking Chisenhall, and Jed comes running out of the room. ‘The Indians are taking Chisenhall right now!’ And we’re like, ‘What? You’ve got to be kidding me!’

“So we run out. Who are we taking now? Who are we taking? The highest upside guy on the board is Casey Kelley. And I’m like, ‘John, OK here, listen. It’s a two-sport guy, it’s going to take $3 million dollars, and we can spread the money out.

“It literally happened in the span of a minute and a half that we took Casey Kelly, because Lonnie Chisenhall was our pick.”

The Red Sox didn’t regret that pick for long, because Kelly helped them bring slugger Adrian Gonzalez to Boston. But after watching Chisenhall take David Price deep on Friday, there are undoubtedly some regrets over the one that got away — or certainly where he landed, anyway.

Read More: ALDS Game 2, Indians, Lonnie Chisenhall, Red Sox

MLB commissioner reiterates support for David Ortiz regarding 2003 drug test

10.07.16 at 4:55 pm ET
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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred still believes David Ortiz might not have legitimately failed a drug test. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred still believes David Ortiz might not have legitimately failed a drug test. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND — Commissioner Rob Manfred remains surprised at the stir he caused in Boston last week when he questioned David Ortiz’s inclusion on the infamous 2003 performance-enhancing drug list.

Speaking in Cleveland before the Indians and Red Sox played Game 2 of the American League Division Series, Manfred stood by his words and lamented the destruction of the samples that could’ve been used to prove Ortiz’s innocence.

“Let me say a couple of things about what happened in Boston,” Manfred said. “First of all, it was one of those instances where I know I was not breaking new ground. As a matter of fact, we put out a statement at the time of the original story in the New York Times that contained all of the factual information that I relied on when I spoke in Boston.

“My friend Michael Weiner [the late union head] did a press conference with David, said exactly the same things that I said up in Boston. I don’t know whether I had a captive audience or I had a particularly articulate day that day, but it seemed like it attracted a lot of attention.

“But I did not regard it to be a fundamental shift in what baseball’s position was with respect to those survey tests.”

Ortiz’s name was included on a list of supposedly anonymous samples that were supposed to be used to see if baseball could meet a minimum threshold of failed tests needed to trigger a full testing program the following year. When that threshold was easily met, the samples were supposed to be destroyed.

Manfred admitted there was “clearly a window” between the tests being taken and results being questioned. The Times story, however, was published in 2009.

“I think the problem with that in retrospect is this, we — and the ‘we’ in that sentence is baseball and the MLBPA — were fundamentally committed to the idea that those survey test results were supposed to be anonymous. So the window where we could’ve gone back and done some retesting or elimination of ambiguity was at a period of time that we fervently hoped that the commitment that was originally made to the players that they would stay private or confidential would be met.”

Read More: ALDS Game 2, David Ortiz, Indians, Red Sox

MLB announces start times for potential ALDS Game 4 and 5

10.07.16 at 3:58 pm ET
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CLEVELAND – Major League Baseball has announced that if there is a Game 4 in the American League Division Series between the Red Sox and Indians it will start at 6:08 pm at Fenway Park on Monday.

MLB released the possible start times for a potential Game 5, which would be slated for either 6:08 pm or 8:08 pm on Wednesday. That game would be in Cleveland.

Red Sox notes: Rick Porcello possibility to start Game 4; Marco Hernandez may have been right; Plans for Drew Pomeranz

10.07.16 at 2:44 pm ET
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Rick Porcello is a candidate to start a Game 4 if needed. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello is a candidate to start a Game 4 if needed. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — There could be a change of plans for the Red Sox if a Game 4 presents itself.

Because Rick Porcello only threw 72 pitches in his Game 1 start Thursday night, Red Sox manager John Farrell has left the door open to pitch the Sox ace Monday in the American League Division Series if the game is needed. Right now, Eduardo Rodriguez is slated to get that start.

“It’s going to be dependent upon what we do out of our bullpen,” Farrell said prior to Friday afternoon’s Game 2. “For instance, if there was a scenario that Eddie Rodriguez ends up pitching out of the bullpen, the fact that Rick went the number of pitches he did, it presents him as a potential option, depending on what takes place.”

The Indians have already committed to bringing back Trevor Bauer as the Game 4 starter, if needed.

– The Red Sox manager did notice the Game 1 atmosphere having an affect on some of his players who hadn’t experienced the postseason before.

“I think the first game of the postseason, there’s a little anxiety waiting around,” Farrell said. “And you combine it with an 8 o’clock start which even when we feel an 8 o’clock start on a Sunday during the regular season, there’s a different feel to it. The fact that we had three days down, a late-night start or a later start, five guys in our lineup being their first postseason. Yeah, there were some things that were firsts and I’m sure that lent to … we faced far too many pitches yesterday. Below the zone and above the zone. Hopefully today after a game under our belt we’re back in the flow of things and back in the rhythm of things and we’re most consistent with our approach.”

– After taking another look at the ball that bounced in front of Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez with Hanley Ramirez at the plate in the eighth inning Thursday night, Farrell supported the decision by pinch-runner Marco Hernandez not to make a run at taking third base with one out.

“That’s’ a tough read,” Farrell said. “When that carom goes directly out where he doesn’t have kind of the peripheral to gauge on the distance, being the tying run, you’ve got to be 100 percent sure in your mind. And if there’s any hesitation with the way that Perez throws, you’ve got to play it safely in that spot. For sure, Hanley is swinging the bat as good as anyone. In that scenario, your first reaction is, because of the dugout, we have the side angle. Our first reaction is you’re thinking go. He’s got a completely different angle.”

– Farrell was truly impressed by the work turned in by Pomeranz in Game 1, so much so that he is already eyeing possibly using him in a similar manner if the opportunity presents itself Sunday.

“I thought he was very good,” said Farrell in regards to the lefty, who struck out five over 2 1/3 innings. “He maintained his stuff in his time on the mound. We’re hopeful after two days he’s available for something close to that again when we get into Game 3. It’s comforting to know that he has so much relief experience in his background. We’ve got a reliever who is stretched out, is how I look at it in the moment.”

Farrell also noted that the forearm soreness Pomeranz was dealing with isn’t currently a concern. “As long as we stay in that 45-50 pitch as a maximum, that physical is well under control,” he said.

– Farrell offered some insight on Xander Bogaerts’ struggles at the plate, which most recently an 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Game 1.

“It’s been a situation where I think he’s maybe chased some pitches,” the manager said. “I think that was pretty evident [Thursday] night. Breaking balls down below the zone or off the plate. And I think he’s committed to some pitches early, that’s where he’s maybe addressed some fastballs and maybe not having the best pitch recognition that he’s shown previously. So the one thing that we have to do is continue to get him in a place where he’s prepared and ready. And then trust his abilities once the game begins.”

– Farrell admitted that, prior to Ortiz’s eighth-inning double, it appeared as though the regular season’s demands had caught up to the retiring designated hitter a bit.

“The yearlong tour had grown, and maybe had worn on him somewhat, physically,” Farrell said. “Hopefully [Thursday] night’s final at-bat was a sign of things to come here. We need him.”

– Cleveland manager Terry Francona that as effective as Andrew Miller and Cody Allen were Thursday night, things didn’t go exactly as planned. And it was the Red Sox’ lineup that caused the curveball, according to Francona.

“Believe me, that isn’t the way we drew it up,” the Indians skipper said. “I wanted Andrew to come in and turn the lineup over. I didn’t want it to be 40 pitches. And the same thing with Cody. I wanted Cody to get the last five, but not that long. They make you work so hard and that’s part of why they’re so good.”

Read More: ALDS Game 2, Indians, Red Sox,

Red Sox lineup: Andrew Benintendi moved up to No. 7 spot

10.07.16 at 1:08 pm ET
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Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

CLEVELAND — After his two-hit performance in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, which included a solo homer, Andrew Benintendi is getting a promotion.

The rookie has been moved up to the Red Sox’ No. 7 spot in the batting order for Game 2, with Jackie Bradley Jr. sliding to No. 9. Besides that switch, the rest of the Red Sox’ lineup remains intact against Cleveland starter Corey Kluber.

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup with David Price on the mound for the visitors:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Brock Holt 3B
Mookie Betts RF
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Andrew Benintendi LF
Sandy Leon C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

David Ortiz: ‘I’m going to bring my best [Friday]. That’s how I am’

10.07.16 at 3:35 am ET
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David Ortiz slides safely into second base in the eighth inning Thursday. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz slides safely into second base in the eighth inning Thursday. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — It was business as usual for David Ortiz following his team’s 5-4 loss to the Indians Thursday night. Talking on the phone. Some postgame treatment. A quick visit from physical therapist Dan Dyrek. And then off to the team bus.

You would have never known he might actually be two games away from the end of his career.

“Hey, listen, this is not over yet. We’ve got plenty of games to play,” Ortiz said after the first game of the American League Division Series against the Indians. “I’m going to bring my best [Friday]. That’s how I am. And I’m pretty sure my teammates will, too, so see you manana.”

For much of the night, Ortiz was left with frustration.

After his first two at-bats resulted in a foul out and a ground out, the designated hitter was put on the spot in the fifth inning. With runners on first and second, two outs and the Red Sox trailing by a run, Ortiz faced off with Andrew Miller. The result would be an inning-ending strikeout.

“It’s so frustrating facing Miller because it seems like every pitch is a strike,” said Ortiz, who came into the at-bat having gone 1-for-7 against the lefty. “I got two strikes – not one of those pitches was a strike. They were down in the zone. That’s the second time it happened to me with him. But anyway, he’s very filthy and you just pray to God for him to make a mistake.”

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TV cameras catch David Ortiz lecturing Marco Hernandez in dugout during Game 1 loss, and Hernandez reveals what Ortiz said

10.07.16 at 1:53 am ET
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Marco Hernandez

Marco Hernandez

CLEVELAND — The second the ball bounded in front of home plate, Hanley Ramirez waved for Marco Hernandez to take third. The rookie pinch runner instead retreated to second.

It was the eighth inning of a one-run game, and after the Red Sox failed to score, Hernandez found himself in the dugout alongside David Ortiz, who draped an arm over the youngster and spoke to him at length as the TV cameras rolled.

So what exactly did Ortiz say?

“He said to me, ‘You only have one decision. If you go, you go. But if you stay, make sure you do it the right way,’ ” Hernandez told WEEI.com. “I’m confident that was the right read. That run is the most important run of the game. If I get out on that play, the next hitter would have to hit a bomb to tie the game.”

There were no bombs. The Red Sox instead failed to score en route to a 5-4 loss to the Indians in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

Ortiz was a bit more pointed in his rendering of the conversation.

“We were just talking about baserunning situations, just give him some ideas,” he said. “He’s got to be a little more aggressive and be aware of things a little better next time.”

Hernandez pinch ran for Ortiz after the slugger doubled with one out in the eighth and the Red Sox trailing 5-4. Cody Allen bounced a curveball that kicked a few feet in front of the plate. Ramirez waved Hernandez, but the rookie stayed put. Those extra 90 feet loomed large when Ramirez grounded out. Xander Bogaerts then struck out to end the inning.

“Marco, his read at second base, we’ve got a chance to advance 90 feet,” manager John Farrell noted.

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Read More: ALDS Game 1, David Ortiz, Indians, Marco Hernandez
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