…so now it’s up to Clay Buchholz.
Think about that for a second.
Ok, that’s enough of that. Now get your head out of the oven.
The good news? This series is not over. The Red Sox are coming back home and that, in and of itself, should create a glimmer of hope. Cleveland is barely a .500 team on the road. They also score about a run and a half less per game away from their friendly confines. Their offensive numbers overall are much worse on the road, though the pitching splits are admittedly pretty similar. But Josh Tomlin should not be unbeatable either.
You would assume the Sox offense will wake up at Fenway. Well, they certainly can’t be any worse. The only guy who has shown up so far is Brock Holt. I suppose Andrew Benintendi too. But that is it. Similar to Cleveland, the Sox’ offensive numbers spike upwards at home. Though not the same as the Indians, their pitching stats do get worse at Fenway.
The bad news? Where do we start?
The Sox obviously have a good team and have the capability to not only come back in the series, but also take three in a row to win it. But does anyone have that vibe now? I don’t.
After winning 11 in a row to seal up the AL East, the Sox dropped 5 of their last 6 regular season games. This obviously cost them home field, at least for this series. How big was that really? Didn’t think it was a huge deal before the series. Feeling like that was the wrong assumption now.
People may write off the end of the season too. Players were tired, they wrapped up a playoff spot and lost focus, home field wasn’t THAT important, etc. But most of the regulars played most of those last 6 games. So John Farrell must have though they still did have something to play for. And then they didn’t get the job done in that respect.
This may have carried over to the first 2 games of this series. We have seen an alarming number of brain cramps and bad plays in a mere two games: Dustin Pedroia with an uncharacteristically brutal error in Game 2. Benintendi being lazy on a fly ball in Game 1, allowing a catcher to tag from first to second. Jackie Bradley Jr. with some terrible throws from the outfield, not to mention some horrific at-bats. Sandy Leon with a bad throw or two. David Price walking a the #9 hitter Roberto Perez, who hit .183 this season, TWICE in two at-bats. Rick Porcello giving up three bombs in one inning. Maybe even Marco Hernandez not taking third on a loose ball at the plate in the eighth inning in Game 1 (though there was only 1 out and he may not have made it, so maybe I’m being picky on this one). This is only to name some.
Has the season-long farewell tour caught up to David Ortiz as well? Especially with all of the events last week? Perhaps.
More bad news? You got it! Due to Corey Kluber’s performance in Game 2, the Cleveland bullpen will be fresh for Game 3 on Sunday. Specifically Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. So if Tomlin gets ripped, Terry Francona can do a similar thing Sunday that he did Thursday. And doesn’t everyone expect Buchholz to get blasted too? So Game 3 could very well play out exactly like Game 1. Not good for the Sox.
I would very much like to blame John Farrell for this series. But I can’t really. His two “aces” lasted 7 2/3 combined innings. His offense completely shut down. He has seemed to make the right bullpen moves. People may have complained about moving Holt to 2nd in the batting order and Xander Bogaerts down to 6th, but Holt has performed. I’m honestly not sure what else he could have done differently across the board. As much as I would like to bash him, I really can’t.
One thing I would consider though: Moving Benintendi to center and inserting Chris Young in left for Game 3. Bradley is 0-6 with 5 strikeouts. Probably would be 0-7 with 6 K’s if he didn’t get hit by a 0-2 pitch in his last at-bat Friday. He doesn’t look right any way you slice it. But what else can you do with the team? Not much I am afraid. Just have to hope the home cooking helps win Game 3. Then maybe bring Porcello and Price back on short rest and hope the results in their second starts in the series are vastly different than their first ones. Though how can we really expect that with Price’s career futility in the postseason?
I’m not packing it in, but it really does look like a lifeless team now, no? And then to have to rely on Buchholz. Yikes! But we’ve seen them do it before. Just have to hold out some hope for that.
The best thing about coming back to Fenway? No more shots of LeBron James and the rest of the Cavalier clowns in their luxury box. Please TBS, how many times did we really have to see that?
Speaking of TBS…I think we’ve had enough of them too…