|10.11.16 at 12:57 am ET|
Maybe the Red Sox weren’t ready for the big stage.
Of the nine starters, five players made their postseason debuts this past week and their inexperience may have shown up as the Red Sox were swept 3-0 in the ALDS by the Indians.
Jackie Bradley Jr. went 1-for-10 with seven strikeouts. Mookie Betts went 2-for-10. Sandy Leon went 1-for-10 with five strikeouts. And even though Xander Bogaerts played in the 2013 playoffs, he was a rookie and he too struggled in the series going 3-for-12 with four strikeouts.
“It’s definitely a great experience,” Bogaerts said. “A lot of pressure, but you have to learn how to control it, you have to learn how to think in that moment and just not over think a lot of stuff. Just be in the moment and be focused.”
For Betts, a MVP candidate, it looked like at times particularly in Cleveland the big stage may have got to him a bit.
“It’s the same game it’s just pressure — if you add pressure,” he said. “Everything counts. Every pitch counts. Every at-bat counts. It’s something new for a lot of us. Next year we have to be ready for it.”
Added Betts: “We’ll be OK, I know that. We are going to take this as a positive. Now we know what to kind of expect going into the playoffs.”
There were two players making their playoff debuts who had good series’ as Brock Holt went 4-for-10 and Andrew Benintendi went 3-for-9. A good sign for the future.
|10.11.16 at 12:21 am ET|
After his standout outing in Game 1 of the Red Sox’ American League Division Series, in which the lefty kept his team in the game with 2 1/3 shutout innings, Pomeranz came out of the bullpen again in Game 3, cruising through a flawless fifth inning.
But then came the sixth.
After a Jose Ramirez walk, and subsequent sacrifice, up came Coco Crisp. After getting to 1-2 on the switch-hitter — who had hit just three homers against lefties this season — Pomeranz decided to try and bury the batter with his trademark knuckle-curveball. What happened next ultimately sealed the Sox’ fate, with Crisp lofting the pitch just over the left field wall to give Cleveland a 4-1 lead.
“It was a curveball that didn’t do anything,” he said after the Red Sox’ season-ending, 4-3 loss. “I probably threw that guy the one pitch he can do something with. It’s just a [expletive] feeling. Two strikes on a guy and I’m trying to throw a good, two-strike curveball and try and get him out. It just stayed up and didn’t break as much as it was supposed to.
“It was one of those things as soon as it was coming out of my hand, I’m saying, ‘Crap!’ in my head. I’m hoping he doesn’t swing and he hits it, and I’m thinking at least hit off the wall. But he it just enough to get it out of there.”
It would be the last batter of Pomeranz’s season, punctuating by far the southpaw’s best campaign in the majors.
The year started with Pomeranz making a starting rotation for the first time in his career, which led to a berth on the National League All-Star team. And then, after being dealt to the Red Sox just prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, he finished up his final few months by helping his new club’s march to the postseason.
And while the end was anything but what Pomeranz had planned, there was a sense a satisfaction as he headed toward an offseason that will start with his wedding next month.
“For me, this is just the beginning,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve had a full year of doing everything and given a chance to run out there and make every start. I never had that chance the last six years. This is only the beginning for me. I’ve had a huge learning experience, and it’s been an awesome year. Especially coming here, being around some of these pitchers and absorbing all this information. These one-pitch mistakes should never happen again because I’ve been through it now. This is going to be like my first season it feels like because it’s the first year I’ve been there the whole time and had a full year. I feel like it’s only the beginning for my career. It all starts here.”
|10.11.16 at 12:09 am ET|
This is Dustin Pedroia’s team now.
The Red Sox second baseman officially became the team’s longest-tenured member after Monday’s 4-3 season-ending loss to the Indians sent veteran slugger David Ortiz into retirement.
Pedroia debuted in 2006, two years after being drafted out of Arizona State in the second round. He earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2007 en route to his first World Series title, and then won an MVP award in 2008.
He was the youngest member of veteran teams at the time, but now the 33-year-old takes the mantle of leadership from Ortiz.
“It’s a little different,” he admitted. “Obviously it hasn’t sunk in that David won’t be around. But you know, it’s tough. . . . I mean, your mind tells you he’ll be here when the game ends and be here tomorrow. It’s got to end some way. But this is definitely not how we expected it to. It’s going to be tough not having him around.”
Pedroia had no explanation for baseball’s best offense getting shut down in the American League Division Series.
“We just couldn’t find our rhythm,” he said. “We couldn’t string consecutive hits or at-bats or anything. And to be honest with you, it’s more a credit to them. I mean, they were on the corners with good stuff. I mean, they pitched good. They played great. Sometimes, as frustrating as it is, you have to tip your cap. That’s why they’re moving on.”
Pedroia believed the Indians played near-perfect baseball in completing the sweep.
“It’s surprising, but they’re good, too,” he said. “It’s not what we expected to happen, but they played great. They played great. They played flawless, man. There wasn’t one part of their game that was off. They were on, and that’s why they’re winning, moving on.”
Pedroia couldn’t call the season a disappointment, not after the Red Sox went worst-to-first and won the American League East.
“I mean, everybody looks at it different,” he said. “We made a ton of steps forward. Obviously our goal is to win the World Series, and we didn’t do that. But I’m proud of every guy in here. I’m sure nobody in this room can sit back and say they could’ve done something different. We played as hard as we could. They just played better than us.”
And now the Red Sox move on to the next chapter, without Ortiz. Pedroia will have to fill that void.
“We made a ton of steps,” he said. “We’re in good shape. I think, especially what David did leadership-wise with a ton of guys, you know, he’s leaving us in good shape. We’ll be all right.”
|10.11.16 at 12:06 am ET|
People who stuck around Fenway Park following Monday’s 4-3 loss to the Indians where Cleveland swept the Red Sox in the ALDS may have witnessed something that will never happen again in sports.
With it being David Ortiz’s final game, the crowd chanted, “Thank you Papi” following the final out and continued for several minutes with thousands of Red Sox fans still cheering for the slugger to come back on to the field one last time.
After roughly 10 minutes, the fans got their wish when Ortiz returned to the field and stood on the pitchers mound for several minutes saluting the fans who stayed in their seats where he showed a rare side of sadness.
“We went into the clubhouse after the last out and John [Farrell] had his moment with all of us,” Ortiz said. “I also said something to my teammates and the PR group came to me and told me that — right after the meeting they came and told me that the fans were expecting me. They were calling my name out there. I definitely always want to show the love to the fans.
“I start thinking I have my moment once I walk on to the mound, start looking around. That moment hits you, you know you’re never going to be able to be performing in the baseball world, in front of all this — no disrespect to anyone, but I think we have the best fans worldwide. It’s something that – it kind of hit me a little bit. I’m not going to lie to you.
“Like I’ve said, I’ve been trying to hold my emotions the best I can, but that last second I couldn’t hold it no more. That’s how we feel about what we do because we love what we do. I respect this game so much and love this game so much that as long as I play I want to always be one of the best. Not because of me, not because of my person, because I don’t really care about that. I really care about the fans. I really care about the emotion that they live through. I really care about everything that comes with it, community-wise, what we do off the field. It’s the whole package. It comes with a lot of things, so I really care about all that.”
|10.10.16 at 11:44 pm ET|
With the Red Sox swept out of the American League Division Series on Monday in a 4-3 loss to the Indians, speculation immediately turned to the future of manager John Farrell.
Farrell declined to speculate on whether he’ll return next year, but he believes the team is pointed in the right direction.
“I’ve not thought anything beyond today’s game,” he said. “And that’s the approach I take every day, through 162 games and through the postseason. But given where this team finished last year, there’s a lot for them to be proud of. We had a chance to talk right at the end of the ballgame, we’re AL East Champions, and I know that doesn’t mean much sitting right now. But there’s been sizable progress made on the part of so many individual players for us as a team. This is a big stepping-stone for a lot of players in our clubhouse. This team is in very good shape as we move forward.”
Farrell returned from cancer to win 93 games and lead the Red Sox to the American League East title. He now has as many first-place finishes (2) as last-place finishes in the Red Sox dugout. He’s 339-309 (.523) as Red Sox manager.
Farrell’s contract runs through 2017, with a team option for 2018.
|10.10.16 at 11:29 pm ET|
John Farrell hadn’t made any glaring mistakes in-game over the course of the first two games of the ALDS against the Indians, until the seventh inning of Game 3.
The Red Sox trailed 4-2 and left-hander Andrew Miller was on the mound for the Indians. After Xander Bogaerts grounded out, Chris Young pinch-hit for Andrew Benintendi and not Jackie Bradley Jr. two spots after him, who at that point hadn’t recorded a hit in the series and was 0 for his last 19 dating back to the regular season.
Benintendi meanwhile was 1-for-2 with a double and 3-for-9 with a home run in the series.
Young walked and then Sandy Leon lined out and Bradley Jr. struck out.
“We were looking to matchup as best we can. Chris Young was brought in for that very reason against left-handed pitching. We’re looking to matchup to get the best advantage we can,” Farrell said.
The move of not pinch-hitting for Bradley came up again in the ninth inning with right-hander closer Cody Allen on the mound. Instead of potentially having Benintendi-Leon-Young due, it was Young-Leon-Bradley Jr.
Young and Leon were retired before Bradley Jr. singled to right and Dustin Pedroia walked, but Travis Shaw popped up to end the game and the season.
Farrell further expanded on his decision to pinch-hit for Benintendi and not Bradley Jr. back in the seventh.
“The number of pitches he’s thrown, if we wait to get to Jackie in that inning, we may never get there,” he said. “And then they are going to go to [right-hander Bryan] Shaw with the right-handers coming in the next inning. That’s the shot we took with him. He draws the walk, starts with the potential of getting something going. Either Benintendi or Jackie is going to get an at-bat if that inning gets extended. But if it’s not, not going to get left with the pinch-hit starting the next inning, and then they go to Shaw to lead things off.”
The explanation really doesn’t make much sense, but in the end Bradley Jr. did single in the ninth inning, so perhaps the move in the seventh inning didn’t matter in the end. Still, the decision will be something Red Sox fans will remember into the offseason.
|10.10.16 at 10:52 pm ET|
With the crowd calling for one final encore after the Red Sox were eliminated by the Indians, 4-3, in Game 3 Monday night at Fenway Park, David Ortiz made his way up the dugout steps and spent two minutes waving goodbye to his adoring fans.
Most fans who turned out on the chilly October night at Fenway chanted “Papi, Papi, Papi” in an effort to get him to come out after Travis Shaw flew out to end the game and the career of the legendary Red Sox slugger.
Ortiz didn’t disappoint as he waved and eventually became teary-eyed, doffing his cap to the crowd. He had the chance to speak to the crowd but instead allowed his appearance and his gesture speak for itself.
David Ortiz leaves the game with three World Series titles and one World Series MVP (2013).
|10.10.16 at 10:48 pm ET|
In what was David Ortiz’s last-ever game, the Boston Red Sox fell to the Cleveland Indians 4-3 in Game 3 of the ALDS. The Red Sox were swept, and a Hall of Fame career came to an end. Check out photos from the game here.
For a complete recap, click here.
|10.10.16 at 9:51 pm ET|
That certainly wasn’t how things were supposed to go.
After entering the postseason as the favorites in the American League, the Red Sox were swept by the Indians in the best-of-five series, concluding with a 4-3 loss Monday night at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox offensive simply couldn’t get anything going all series long, including Monday as they were shut down by starter Josh Tomlin for a second time in the series.
Tomlin held the Red Sox to two runs over five-plus innings in four hits, while walking one and striking out four. After Tomlin, Andrew Miller didn’t allow a run in his two innings of relief, but the Red Sox did make things interesting in the eighth against Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen.
After a David Ortiz walk with two outs against Allen, Hanley Ramirez ripped a single to left scoring Mookie Betts to make it a 4-3 game and the tying run being at second base, which was when Ortiz was lifted for Marco Hernandez as a pinch-runner to a standing ovation. Xander Bogaerts ripped a line drive, but it was right at the second baseman to end the threat and leave the tying run in scoring position.
In the ninth, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-out single and Dustin Pedroia walked, but Travis Shaw flied out to end it.
Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz avoided trouble in the first three innings, but couldn’t get out of a jam in the fourth. Jose Ramirez led the inning off with a single and was followed by a Lonnie Chisenhall walk. Coco Crisp laid down a perfect bunt to set up second and third with one out and catcher Tyler Naquin delivered with hard single to right to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.
Buchholz was lifted after the inning as he went four innings, allowing the two runs on six hits, while walking one and striking out four.
Drew Pomeranz relieved Buchholz and allowed a crucial, two-run home run to Crisp in the sixth inning, putting the Indians ahead 4-1 at the time. It was Crisp’s second postseason home run of his career.
The Red Sox scored their first run in the fifth. After a Bogaerts one-out single, Andrew Benintendi doubled off the wall to score Bogaerts on a close play at the plate. That would be all they would get in the frame as Sandy Leon and Bradley Jr. were both retired, leaving the tying run at the time on second base.
Tomlin was pulled following a leadoff single in the sixth and in came Miller. The Red Sox did get another run as following a Betts double, Ortiz hit a sacrifice fly to center, but Ramirez then struck out to end the inning.
The Red Sox led for exactly one inning in the entire series.
Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:
|10.10.16 at 3:54 pm ET|
Rick Porcello knows his Game 1 start wasn’t who he is as a pitcher, as he allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings to take the loss.
The right-hander desperately wants the Red Sox to win Game 3 so he can redeem himself in a potential Game 4, as he was named the starter prior to Monday’s Game 3. He will take the place of Eduardo Rodriguez.
“Definitely excited to get back out there,” Porcello said. “I don’t think for me the first game and for ourselves as a team the first two games represent who we are as a ballclub and how good we are. For me, I can’t wait to get back out there and throw the ball the way I know I am capable of. Obviously, we have to take care of business tonight, but I am excited to get a start here at Fenway.”
Porcello is 13-1 with a 2.97 ERA at Fenway Park this year, while Rodriguez is 0-4 in nine starts with a 6.02 ERA. Manager John Farrell also pointed to the fact that it’s been awhile since Rodriguez pitched last as the reasons for going with Porcello over the left-hander.
“I think our mindset is to not look beyond today. If we get there tomorrow, Rick is the starter,” Farrell said. “He’s been extremely successful here at Fenway Park and hasn’t gone the 10-12 days in between starts as [Eduardo Rodriguez] has. That’s the plan tomorrow provided we get there.”
Although Porcello allowed three solo home runs in one inning during Game 1 and Indians hitters looked comfortable all game long, he said he won’t change his approach.
“No. Obviously that is something I addressed in thinking it through a different way I need to attack these guys, but I think the biggest thing is getting ahead in the count,” he said. “I didn’t do that in a bunch of scenarios and I didn’t establish that very well from the get-go. The first inning I was able to get out of it basically by throwing my best fastballs, but it wasn’t necessarily how I was setting things up. That was just how it played out. I think it’s more how I establish my game plan and go out there and execute my pitches. That is going to be the difference.
“I am not going to let a couple of swings dictate or alter the things I do well. I just have to get back to doing that. That’s really it. [I] gave up three solo home runs in one inning. Hasn’t happened to me very often. I think if you look at those, it’s just a case-by-case basis on a not very well executed pitch and getting into counts I don’t want to get into. I don’t think you go back and completely revamp the game plan. Just be cleaner with your approach.”
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