Craig Breslow’s Playoff Blog: We cannot wait to get back on the field
|10.15.13 at 9:37 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.
Winning a game, especially a game that looked pretty gloomy for a while, is obviously important. Depending on how the rest of the series goes, some people may choose to point back to our comeback win in Game 2 as kind of a turning point. Hopefully that’s the case.
But right now, I think the significance of the comeback lies more in just letting our hitters get back into their game, getting our guys to relax a little bit and planting that seed that we’re never out of it. Despite how much we may talk about how we never give away at-bats, when you actually have tangible results for never giving away at-bats, I think it reinforces that mantra.
It remains to be seen if the way things played out will cause the Tigers to play the end of the game a little bit differently. Perhaps they’ll experience some added pressure; perhaps not. But momentum in this game is a huge thing, and at the least, we’ve recaptured some of it. We got our fans back into the game, and overall, I just think everybody has kind of been able to exhale and say that with a tough five games ahead of us, we’re positioned far better than we would be if things had gone the other way. I think we can also go back to being ourselves and not feel the pressure of trying to do more than what we’ve done all season.
What Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer did against our lineup in the first two games was impressive. While it’s taking place, there’s no time to appreciate it from the other side. But looking back, you can say those were two very good performances — two pitchers that shut down a very good offense, at least temporarily.
When Shane Victorino got our first hit of the game on Sunday, it still remained to be seen whether that would materialize into a shift in the game. Typically, I think you need two events before you can feel like the game may be changing course. One hit was maybe an outlier, but when Dustin Pedroia followed that with another — when he looked into our dugout and said, ‘Who’s the next guy?’ — it felt as if we might have something going.
The fans started to get into the game, guys started to believe and were able to get this feeling of keeping the momentum going and getting the at-bat to the next guy. It’s tough to do that with one hit, but when there’s two, now there’s a trend or a pattern. So I felt like once Pedroia got a double off the wall, we got a run, we could say, ‘OK, we got a hit. Now we’ve scored a run in this series. Now let’s build on that.’ On the other side of things, the guys we ran in out of the bullpen did a great job of keeping the game where it was. Sometimes you overlook keeping a four- or five-run deficit where it is, but that gave us a chance to chip away.
And then David Ortiz is David Ortiz. When we tried to categorize Koji’s season, at some point, we said, ‘Well, this is just Koji.’ At some point, David Ortiz is just a phenomenal power hitter with a knack for the dramatic. All you ever hope for in a situation like that is to get the tying runner to the plate. And when you get the tying run to the plate in the form of David Ortiz, you feel a little bit better.
Looking back at the pitch he hit out, it seemed like it wasn’t a bad pitch by Joaquin Benoit. From the bullpen, we saw the ball off the bat and we all kind of froze. Ryan Dempster and Junichi Tazawa were both warming up at the time, both throwing pitches, I think both oblivious to what was going on outside. Within probably half a second, Dempster threw a warmup pitch, our bullpen catcher Mani Martinez caught that, caught the home run and then Torii Hunter came toppling over the wall.
It was just such an unbelievable sequence of events: Is the ball going to get out? If it is not going to get out, is it going to get down? It looks like it’s going to get out, but is Torii going to catch it? And then, Torii comes over the wall and you hope he’s OK.
When the ball cleared the fence, we were all caught in our own celebrations. But looking back, the somewhat iconic image of the police officer’s hands in the air and Torii’s feet in the air was just the perfect juxtaposition for an amazing game.
After we won, there was certainly a high and the sense that it wasn’t the time for a day off just based on the feeling that was in the clubhouse. There was a feeling not only of confidence but almost relief that we didn’t need to press so hard, that regardless of how these next games get played out, we can kind of go back to being the team that we had for 162 games.
But there was also something more than that. Yes, there was an element of relief, an element of reassurance, but simultaneously we could hear the screams of the crowd spilling out onto Yawkey Way and look out from the window of the weight room and see the street flooded with fans. It was such a great moment for the team, for the city, for baseball, something you’d love to bottle and sustain throughout the rest of these games.
Now, we’re all just anxious to get back on the field and continue where we left off.
- Preliminary 'New Stars for Young Stars' lineup announced
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Big weeks for Acosta and Welch
- Gary DiSarcina named Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year
- Red Sox non-tender Ryan Kalish, Andrew Bailey
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Jesus Loya solid at the plate in Mexico
- Help Wanted: Staff Editor, Scouts
- SoxProspects.com Podcast #48: The Slow Season
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Attention shifts to Caribbean, Jerez shining in Venezuela
- Luis Ortega traded to Brewers for reliever Burke Badenhop
- Red Sox re-sign infielder Brandon Snyder