How did Red Sox fare after walk-offs?
|10.08.13 at 5:23 pm ET|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — So, yes, the Red Sox fell prey to an unlikely walk-off event on Monday night in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, when Jose Lobaton ignored his season-ending 1-for-21 stretch and the otherworldly season of Sox closer Koji Uehara and launched a slightly elevated splitter into the dunk tank in Tropicana Field for a 5-4 victory. What’s done is done.
What is now relevant is how the Red Sox bounce back from such losses. How have the 2013 Sox recovered from the sinking feeling and funereal postgame clubhouse silence that follows walk-off losses?
The team endured seven such defeats in 2013. Here they are, with a brief description of their aftermath:
May 5, 2013: Rangers 4, Red Sox 3
Former Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre completed the only three-game sweep the Sox endured all year with his walk-off single against Clayton Mortensen. The Sox rebounded the next day (at home) for a 6-5 win in 11 innings. However, it’s worth noting that the walk-off fell squarely in the middle of the Sox’ worst stretch of the year, as they went 2-6 over the eight games that followed it, part of a 2-9 overall stretch that dropped the team to its worst place in the standings all year, three games out of first place.
June 13, 2013: Orioles 5, Red Sox 4
MVP candidate Chris Davis singled against Alex Wilson in the bottom of the 13th in Baltimore. The Sox lost the next game and then traveled sideways for a bit, losing three of their four contests after the walk-off before reeling off wins in four straight contests and nine of 10.
June 20, 2013: Tigers 4, Red Sox 3
Andrew Bailey, back from the disabled list, inched closer to losing his role to Uehara with this two-run walk-off that turned a 3-2 advantage into a 4-3 loss. The Sox did bounce back to win the next game, 10-6, but lost the two subsequent ones in Detroit.
July 6, 2013: Angels 9, Red Sox 7
Josh Hamilton went deep in the bottom of the 11th for a two-run homer off of Craig Breslow. The Sox went on to lose their next two contests on the West Coast before recovering with four straight victories.
July 14, 2013: Athletics 3, Red Sox 2
Matt Thornton‘s Red Sox debut was less than triumphant, as the left-hander gave up the game-winning hit to MVP candidate Josh Donaldson in the bottom of the 11th to conclude the Sox’ first half on a flat note. The All-Star break offered a natural separation from the contest, and the Sox ended up winning their first game of the second half by a 4-2 count over the Yankees.
August 14, 2013: Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 3
Brandon Workman, in just his fourth career relief appearance, pitched well before the Blue Jays touched him for a run in the 10th inning. The Sox would lose their next two games, three of four, four of six and five of eight to drop into a first-place tie in the AL East before commencing, on Aug. 24, a four-game winning streak that gave them the division lead for good.
August 20, 2013: Giants 3, Red Sox 2
This contest represented the somewhat infamous and puzzling Red Sox debut of right-hander Brayan Villarreal, a pitcher with a history of control problems who was summoned into a game with the bases loaded and, predictably enough, issued a four-pitch walk to Marco Scutaro to end the game, one in which Sox manager John Farrell was left to defend his selection of Villarreal in a tie game over closer Koji Uehara. The Sox, however, rebounded for a win the next day, won five of their next six and 13 of their next 16 as they ran away with the AL East.
A couple of things stand out: First, Uehara wasn’t involved in any of these walk-offs. Secondly, the Sox were 4-3 in the games following their walk-offs, suggesting that even though many of them fell amidst some of the team’s worst stretches of the year, they still proved capable at times of playing in a fashion in the immediate aftermath of their most disheartening losses that suggested an ability to separate themselves from that disappointment.
Or, put another way: Given that the Sox won four and lost three games by walk-off, it would appear that the residue of a defeat on the final pitch of a game had no discernible impact one way or the other on the team’s next game.
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