Craig Breslow’s playoff blog: Taking stock of the bigger picture after a loss
|10.08.13 at 2:26 am ET|
Red Sox left-hander Craig Breslow will contribute regularly to this blog throughout his team’s postseason run. In addition to his work on the mound, the eight-year big leaguer is also the founder and executive director of the Strike 3 Foundation, a charitable agency that heightens awareness, mobilizes support, and raises funding for childhood cancer research. To learn more about the Strike 3 Foundation, and its new Play It Forward program, click here.
I don’t know that stunning is the word for the prevailing feeling after a walkoff loss. We’re disappointed to have lost, but we played hard and we battled back. We knew that this was not going to be a simple, one-sided series.
It was a great atmosphere to play Game 3 in. Obviously, the fans got into it. The Rays battled, and we have to give them credit. Koji looked like he made a pretty good pitch. Jose Lobaton put a pretty good swing on it. That’s kind of the way things were destined to go tonight.
Even when we took a 3-0 lead early, even with Clay Buchholz on the mound, this game didn’t have the feel that, at any point, that it was over. Nor do I believe any of us ever viewed it as a foregone conclusion or allowed ourselves to fast-forward to an outcome that hadn’t yet happened. I feel like we do a pretty good job of staying within the context that we’re in.
Tonight, I think Buck would probably be the first guy to tell you that he never really got into the groove where he was consistently getting ahead and putting guys away. To his credit, he battled, and he obviously kept us in the game. A quality postseason start is no small feat and we have and will continue to go as far as our starting pitching will take us. Buck gave us a chance to win tonight but it didn’t end up going our way.
I feel like my outing was just kind of a blip. It was kind of over before I knew it — one pitch to Sean Rodriguez (a pop-up), two pitches to Ben Zobrist (a groundball single), at which point John Farrell went to Junichi Tazawa, who retired Evan Longoria.
But after I left, there was still so much game — so much important game — left to be played. The experience of watching the action unfold was very unnerving. I’m not used to it.
I started watching in the clubhouse and just couldn’t take it any more. I wanted to get outside and watch there.
We battled, we stayed in it, we had some great defensive plays — Jarrod Saltalamacchia sprinting back to catch that bunt behind the plate, Mike Napoli — both early and then on the play to his left in the eighth where, even though we couldn’t get the out at home, if he doesn’t glove it and that ball goes through, that’s another run scored. Instead, we got the out on the play and were in position to come back and tie the game in the ninth.
There were just good at-bats, as has been the theme here, battling to the last out.
Certainly, you could make the case that one lives and dies with every pitch in a game like this. And obviously the guy that we’re going to run out there tomorrow — Jake Peavy — is a pretty emotional guy. You know he’s going to battle. If one could will a win, he would be the guy you’d want to ask to do it.
I like our chances. Part of the success of our team is predicated upon the ability to objectively evaluate the scenario that we’re in, whether this is Game 5 of a five-game series, Game 7 of a seven-game series, a potential elimination game, or an opportunity for us to eliminate our opponents. Guys do such a remarkable job of staying grounded with their task. I think that’s part of our identity — we just kind of keep rolling.
I think it’s really important for us to remain mindful of the bigger picture, that we’re up, two games to one, and still with an opportunity to advance with a win. A loss is a loss. A loss in the postseason is a loss in the postseason. But we’re still in a good position.
We know tomorrow is going to be a dogfight, and hopefully we end up on the winning end of that one. The one thing we’ve shown all year is our ability to come back the day after a tough loss as if the only thing that matters is that day’s game. I have every confidence that we will do the same on Tuesday.
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