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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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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 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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Red Sox notes: John Farrell fires back at Opening Day job question; Marco Hernandez trending toward making roster 10.05.16 at 4:35 pm ET
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John Farrell. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

John Farrell. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — The question prior to the Red Sox’ workout at Progressive Field Wednesday seemed innocuous enough.

“You were snowed out here on Opening Day. Do you remember some of the questions maybe you had on that day about this team as you started that journey, and what has been answered the most?”

Before the query could be finished, Farrell had what was a more pointed answer than anyone anticipated.

“Yeah, I think Jonny’s first question was, ‘Hey, you going to get fired?’ Well, here we are,” the manager said, referencing WBZ’s Jonny Miller. (The question was actually asked on April 3 prior to the Red Sox’ workout day.)

Farrell went on to say, “We’ve answered a lot of challenges along the way, we’ve answered a lot of questions. How our rotation was going to build. How we were going to get past Eddie, who was injured in spring training. I think as you go through 162 games, the beauty of the journey is the potential distractions that are thrown at you, where the schedule have you going. I think our guys have done a great job of not only being prepared, but as I talked about in New York, this is a tough group, they’re smart, they care for one another and those traits are what has allowed us to get to this point, in addition to being a very talented team. I think we’ve come together with an offense that we’ve felt good about in spring training, but that has grown to a point of being maybe a unique one. I love the fact our rotation has answered some of the potential questions about them.”

– It sure looks like Marco Hernandez is going to make the roster for the Red Sox’ American League Division Series against the Indians.

There was some question if the Red Sox were going to go with 11 pitchers, which had been the case in all three rounds of their postseason run in 2013. With no designated pinch-runner, such as Quintin Berry, and the need to matchup against the Indians’ lefty batters, the idea that relievers Fernando Abad or Heath Hembree might be added as a 12th pitcher wasn’t far-fetched.

But listening to Farrell, it certainly seems the Red Sox are leaning toward once again going with the extra position player when rosters are turned in Thursday morning at 10.

“Given the potential need with two spots in our lineup where we’ve shown I think a pretty consistent approach to pinch-run. If the game situation dictates that, that will weight heavily if we go with a 14th position player, or not,” the manager said. “Then you look at the five-game series with an off-day in between. If there are no interruption with weather, you have some recovery time for relievers that you may use. Just looking at rosters in the past, we’ve typically stayed with 11 pitchers, as well. That will all shake out tomorrow morning.”

– In terms of in-game strategy, Farrell insinuated he had no plans to use a defensive replacement for first baseman Hanley Ramirez, or use Koji Uehara more than one inning (as was the case in 2013).

Steven Wright on injury: ‘I feel like it made me a better person’ 10.04.16 at 5:19 pm ET
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Steven Wright. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Steven Wright. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

The playoffs are starting and the Red Sox’ best first-half pitcher isn’t going to be on the roster. Steven Wright is still injured.

As the Red Sox packed their bags in the Fenway Park clubhouse, getting ready for their Tuesday flight to Cleveland, Wright would have had every right to be a little upset. If he just didn’t injure that right shoulder while pinch-running in Los Angeles Aug. 5, Wright would most likely be one of the starters pitching in the upcoming best-of-five American League Division Series against the Indians.

But, instead, he is relegated to throwing bullpens Wednesday and Saturday, with the potential opportunity to face hitters in Fort Myers, Fla. after that. Not exactly how anybody envisioned after the season’s first four months.

Wright, however, isn’t mad. Instead the knuckleballer is almost unbelievably understanding.

“I try not be angry about anything because to me I feel like everything in your life happens for a reason, whether we know what the reason is or not,” Wright told WEEI.com. “I think with the whole injury thing, I think it just taught me to be patient. It’s one of those things where it’s a freak accident regardless of what people are saying with me being out there or not, if I should have been or if I shouldn’t have been. It was something that happened and I feel like it made me a better person. People were expecting me to get mad. People were mad. People were mad for me. But the thing is that if it wasn’t going to happen that way, it was going to happen another way.

“I’m blessed it wasn’t anything serious. Even though I’ve missed a lot of time for it, it’s still, in the big scheme of my career, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s one of those things where it happened and I just have to move on. I’m more angry that I wasn’t able to get out there and play, perform and help this team get to where we’re at. But we obviously have a good enough team. It’s not like they didn’t need me, but they were able to step up and get the job done.”

The hope for Wright now is that the Red Sox advance and he ultimately gets his chance to contribute, one way or another. And because of the possibility of pitching in still exists, watching the upcoming games at Progressive Field is simply viewed as part of the process.

“Right now it’s one of those things where I obviously want to help the team compete and win, but I feel like it’s a little bit easier to watch and cheer on because physically i’m not there yet, but I’m getting closer,” Wright said. “My goal is to make sure that when the next round comes and they have to make another roster decision, ti’s based on what the team needs versus me not being available because I’m not healthy. That’s my goal. Whether I make the next round roster or not, it’s obviously not my decision, I just want to be in that conversation of being put not the roster. That’s my goal. That’s what I’m going to work for. When that time comes and they have to make another decision on roster, I just want to be in the conversation.”

Red Sox announce David Ortiz’s number will be retired in 2017 10.02.16 at 2:47 pm ET
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Leo Ortiz joins his son, David, in celebrating the slugger's final regular season game. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Leo Ortiz joins his son, David, in celebrating the slugger’s final regular season game. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

As part of ceremony honoring David Ortiz prior to Sunday’s regular season finale, the Red Sox announced Ortiz’s No. 34 would be retired in 2017.

The ceremony also included …

– Third base coach Brian Butterfield giving Ortiz a pair of L.L. Bean boots.
– The presentation of a solid gold bat by president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and physical therapist Dan Dyrek, who Ortiz credits for getting him physically able to play for the past few years.
– The announcement by Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker and Boston mayor Marty Walsh that the bridge on Brookline Ave leading to Fenway Park, and the street on the way to the Fenway T stop would both be named after Ortiz.
– A check of $500,000 the David Ortiz Foundation, which was matched by the Red Sox’ ownership, pushing the total to $1 million.
– A cavalcade of former Red Sox teammates, along with the three World Series trophies. Some of those in attendance included Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Mike Lowell, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Jonny Gomes and J.D. Drew.

Everything you need to know as Red Sox head into final regular season game 10.02.16 at 2:07 am ET
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David Price will close out the regular season for the Red Sox Sunday. (NIck Churiaro/USA Today Sports)

David Price will close out the regular season for the Red Sox Sunday. (NIck Churiaro/USA Today Sports)

They’ve played 161 games. They still need another.

This we know: the Red Sox are in the postseasons, winners of the American League East division. They will be playing Cleveland in the AL Division Series, which starts Thursday.

After that, there is still plenty to digest as we wait for the Red Sox to finish off their regular season schedule, Sunday afternoon …

– When everybody wakes up Sunday morning, the Red Sox (93-68) will be 1/2 game in back of the Indians (93-67). But, the Sox own the tie-breaker with Cleveland. That’s important when trying to decipher who might end up with home-field advantage in the upcoming best-of-five showdown.

If the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays, they will force the Indians to win both their Sunday tilt with Kansas City and a make-up game in Detroit in order to have the ALDS start at Progressive Field.

If the Red Sox lose Sunday, and the Indians beat KC, the series will start in Cleveland.

If the Red Sox lose against the Blue Jays, and Cleveland loses Sunday, the Indians would play Detroit Monday. Terry Francona’s team would then decide its own fate because of the tie-breaker.

– The Red Sox will have David Price going for them in the regular season finale, although manager John Farrell noted prior to Saturday’s game that his pitch count should be somewhat limited.

– Sunday’s game means a whole bunch to the Blue Jays, who are tied with Baltimore for the top Wild Card spot, with Toronto owning the tie-breaker. The Jays and O’s are 1 1/2 games in front of the Tigers, so even if Toronto loses to the Red Sox it is guaranteed at least another game, which would be against the Tigers if they won Sunday and Monday.

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David Ortiz’s father would have told his son to wait to announce retirement 10.01.16 at 6:02 pm ET
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David Ortiz's father explained he would have advised his son to hold off on announcing his retirement before the season. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz’s father explained he would have advised his son to hold off on announcing his retirement before the season. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

It’s too late now.

When David Ortiz announced on Player’s Tribune last offseason that he would be retiring at the end of the 2016 season, his father, Enrique “Leo” Ortiz, wasn’t aware of the news, having eventually gotten word while back in the Dominican Republic.

But now, looking back, Leo admitted Saturday that he would have pushed his son toward a different approach.

“I was in the Dominican Republic when he announced here in the States but if I was here, I would have told him not to announce his retirement, just because there are so many things that can happen in a season or you might have a change of heart after the season,” the elder Ortiz said. “If I were here, I would have told him to kind of stay neutral so that his options were more open so I wouldn’t have told him to retire.”

But, as ELeo explained it, once the decision was made by his son, there has been no attempt to get Ortiz to change his mind, despite what has been a historic season for the 40 year old.

“I haven’t told him anything like that about why he’s retiring because I know it’s coming from him and it’s his decision,” Leo said. “When I look back to 2013, I remember coming here to the field and I see him what looks like two casts on his feet. I said, what’s happening to my boy? Did he get into an accident or something? What he told me was this is how your son is making this money doing all this stuff before games. It’s not a surprise to me.”

As far as the moment Leo was most proud of his son on a baseball field, that was something Ortiz’s father wasn’t ready to narrow down.

“This guy has given me so much to be proud of over the years,” he said. “I remember when he was coming up in the league, I would try to correct him still even when he was in the big leagues and he told me, ‘Dad, I got it, I’m ready, I’m ready to play in the big leagues.'”

There was, however, that 2007 World Series ring Leo was wearing while talking to the media in the clubhouse prior to Saturday night’s game. Yet, he had a perfectly good explanation while it was that ring he chose to don heading into the Red Sox’ current postseason run.

“This is the ring that called the 2013 championship, so this is the one I’m going to wear because it’s the one that brings good luck and hopefully it brings another ring for 2016,” Leo said.

“He gives me the rings after every championship. I have all of the rings because he knows what’s up. The second thing I want to say publicly is that when he signed the five-year contract, I told the Red Sox he was going to earn every cent of that contract and he was going to earn it day by day, through hard work and told him, ‘I know you’re worth more than that amount of money, but I want you to earn every single cent of that contract.’ The next day he hit two home runs and a double.”

Another example why all these David Ortiz heroics don’t happen by accident 10.01.16 at 12:25 am ET
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We would love to say the emotion of the moment lifted the ball out over the right field fence. That this was David Ortiz’s tip of the chapeau to all the fans who came to kick off the three-day Papipalooza.

If Ortiz was to sit out the final two regular season games, the designated hitter offered plenty of regular season punctuation thanks to his game-winning, eighth inning two-run homer to lead the Red Sox to their 5-3 win over the Blue Jays.

But what this at-bat against Brett Cecil should have reminded us of is one of the chief reasons these sort of things have always followed around the 40-year-old.

His production is a product of his preparation.

“Sometimes on 0-0 he’ll just stand there with the bat on his shoulder and never have even thought about swinging, and then he’ll swing. He does a really good job of knowing what that pitcher is trying to do with him depending on the situation, the count, whoever is on base, whoever is behind him,” said Red Sox pitcher David Price. “As good as he is swinging the baseball bat, he’s probably even more intelligent than that.”

This time, it was Cecil who Ortiz dissected.

After three straight curveballs, the Sox’ designated hitter sold out on Cecil’s front-door sinker. The front leg took was sent toward the right field line, clearing out his hips just in time to lay into the lefty’s 92 mph sinker.

“He was just saying, ‘Hey, I’m looking for one pitch, I got it, and I didn’t miss it. That guy gives me a pitch to hit every time and I miss it. I didn’t miss it this time,'” said Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis.

“Last time I faced him, he was throwing me breaking ball, breaking ball and then finishing me off hard,” Ortiz said. “Cecil has a lot of that good breaking ball and that good fastball at 94. You can’t just be thinking of both. He’s got to give me something and he threw me a good fastball.”

The two were no strangers to each other, with Ortiz having just 6 hits in 31 at-bats (.194) against Cecil. But the DH was due, having not managed a hit against Toronto lefty pitchers in any of his last five at-bats.

“That’s what good hitters do,” Davis said. “Good hitters are stubborn hitters, and you understand one thing when you go up to the plate — I’ve got an idea of what I want to do up there. I know what you’re going to try to do, but I have an idea of what I want to do. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. If I’m right, it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m looking in an area. If you come in that area — fastball, curveball, whatever — with the right pitch height, I’m going to put an A-swing on it. That’s all you really ask for as a good hitter — a pitch in your areas, pre-two strikes, and put an A-swing on it.”

And Ortiz put on that “A-swing,” he now has 38 homers with 127 RBIs, while adding another example of what has allowed for outfield portraits, light tower banners and three-day celebrations.

“I’m not amazed by how well he hits,” Davis said. “I’m a little saddened in the fact that he’s retiring. He’s such a good hitter, such a smart hitter, that you wonder, when you put up those kind of numbers, he’s got to really be ready to go. To go out the way he’s going out is special, and it’s special to be around. I’m glad to be here to see it. He’s a superb hitter. I forgot who he said he was talking to, it might have been the catcher, who said, ‘Why are you so good?’ He looked at him and said, ‘I used to be better when I was younger.’ That’s the type of player he is. He’ll probably hit when he’s 80 years old, sad to say. He might make a comeback when he’s 80.”

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