Last year when the Cleveland Indians took a 2-0 lead over the Red Sox in the ALDS, Boston media was filled with Kevin Millar quotes, 2004 memories, and more items expecting a series comeback.
This year, after Game 2, there were no such items. Leading up to Game 3, it was: “We’re dead”, “Farrell stinks”, and “Oh great Doug Fister is starting next”. Well, with all of the lousy encouragement, Boston’s offense took off en route to a 10-3 Game 3 victory.
Today, the media went back to their post-Game Two ways as the Red Sox could not hold a 3-2 lead and the Astros came from behind to win Game Four, 5-4. It is their first trip to the Championship Series since they made a World Series run in 2005. (When they were in the National League)
Rick Porcello took the ball to start Game 4, and like he had been doing all season, he inherited an early deficit. George Springer led off the game with a double. After a passed ball and a Josh Reddick walk, Jose Altuve came up with 1st and 3rd. Ricky got him to bounce into a double play, giving up a run in the process. He got out of the inning just down 1-0.
Xander Bogaerts, hitting 2nd today, erased that deficit with a 1st-inning home run into the Sox bullpen to tie the game at 1. The homer would end up being Bogaerts only hit of the series.
In the 2nd, Yuli Gurriel tripled after a miss-play by Betts in right. After back-to-back strikeouts, Springer got Porcello again with an RBI single. 2-1.
Oh, you gotta get one. AT LEAST
In the bottom of the 2nd, the Sox looked to stay hot. Hanley Ramirez singled to lead off, and Devers followed up with a single of his own. After a Vazquez walk, the bases were loaded with ZERO OUTS. JBJ worked a 2-2 count, than was called out on strikes by Home Plate umpire Mark Wegner. Bringing down a cavalcade of boos from Sox Nation. The next batter, Dustin Pedroia, also worked a 2-2 count, and was thrown an inside curveball by Morton. But, Wegner thought it had the plate:
Dustin Pedroia was upset with home plate ump Mark Wegner about pitch 6 here. There was also a questionable call on Jackie Bradley, Jr. pic.twitter.com/mDanenjM8p
— Bill Baer 🌹 (@Baer_Bill) October 9, 2017
After Porcello worked a scoreless third, Gary DiScarcina (Bench coach) went to Sale for the fourth. He pulled the now or never card and it paid off. Looking at a potential rain delay at 3:15, it seemed risky. But the rain held off, and Sale kept DEALING. He got through the 4th and 5th innings clean, and kept the Sox deficit at one.
With Charlie Morton still dealing into the 5th, Xander worked a walk, bringing Benintendi up, who had not had a stellar series. The walk ended Morton’s afternoon, and AJ Hinch followed with Justin Verlander. Of course he has more wiggle room to do so with Dallas Keuchel in his pocket for Game 5. However, Verlander hung a 2-2 slider, and Benny did not miss. He crushed it into the right field seats. 3-2 Red Sox.
With Sale cruising and the Sox with the lead, I really believed that he, Reed, and Kimbrel would ride the team into Game Five. Sale and Verlander held both offenses scoreless through the seventh inning.
8TH INNING, ADDISON REED? NAH
I feel like John Farrell made this call from the Clubhouse. After four scoreless innings, Chris Sale came back out for the 8th. A move that surprised many Sox fans, as Reed was warming up in the seventh. The move did not work. Sale left a change-up high and Alex Bregman took it into the seats for a tie ball game, 3-3. The home run was a gut-punch and gave me a Grady Little-Pedro Martinez 2003 feeling. After inheriting a runner on first and two outs, the move was made to Craig Kimbrel. George Springer walked and now the Astros had first and second with two outs. Josh Reddick at the plate. The former Sox player ripped a singled to left scoring pinch runner Cameron Maybin to give Houston the 4-3 lead. A killer, it gave me the Coco Crisp home run flashback from last year. (Another former Sox player)
In the bottom of the 8th, Houston went to their closer Ken Giles for a six-out save. He went clean getting 3-4-5 hitters in order, Betts, Moreland, Ramirez.
Kimbrel back out for the 9th
Houston kept it going in the top of the 9th, grabbing some insurance off Kimbrel. He had 2 outs and just a runner on first. Yuli Gurriel singled, allowing for a Carlos Beltran pinch-hit opportunity. Beltran hit a pop fly to left, that carried. It hit the short field Green Monster (damn you Fenway) and scored a run. Addison Reed finally came in a got McCann to end the inning.
Down two, Rafael Devers led off. And what does the 20-year old do? He hits a freaking INSIDE THE PARK HOME RUN. I mean, my god, I start going nuts. There is momentum, no quit. Just another long ball. Than, the heartbreak:
Christian Vazquez: ground out to third. JBJ: finished up his 0-4 performance with his 3rd strikeout of the day. Pedroia: works a 3-2 count, grounds out to second. Game over, series over. Houston moves on.
ALL THE FEELS
There is no need to get into analytics, they have been all over Twitter. Pedroia stunk, Bogey stunk. Betts wasn’t healthy. Managerial decisions. I could go on.
This game made me feel every emotion possible. I went to all time highs to all time lows too many times. That’s what sports can do, that is what passion does. The Houston Astros are just a flat-out better team. But, the Red Sox did not quit. They gave it everything they had. Execution opportunities were missed, and the season is over.
— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 9, 2017
Red Sox Media
not a lot of heart on this team. only a handful of players i really like, which is sad.
— Pete Packowski (@Pete_BBS) October 9, 2017
BLOW THIS FUCKING TEAM UP NEXT YEAR. #RedSox
— Chris (@c_dubs87) October 9, 2017
Red Sox media is absolutely dreadful. How dare anyone say this team doesn’t have any heart. I don’t care what just happened. This team put everything they had into this series. No, not everything worked out for them. Yes, players under-performed. But to go at the heart of a team, a player, a man, that’s sad. Just absolutely sad.
Sox fans were ready for the season to end after Beltran’s double. Come on. That’s not being a fan. I have a never say die attitude, and so do the Sox. You never know in Baseball, and yeah it’s tough to see a lead lost, but giving up is just a soft move.
Lastly, Blow this team up? Who is this guy? Yeah, we need a power bat. The same guys won’t be back. But hopefully the majority of the young core stays together. Will John Farrell be around for 2018? We will see.
But for now, it hurts, it really does. Anytime a Game Five, or Seven, can roll around, its fun to watch. I had a lot of fun watching this team in 2017. Hopefully they can build, not rebuild, and you know Dave Dombrowski will be at the forefront. On to 2018.