Tuesday, October 11, 2016

What on Earth was That?

I’m saying that a lot to myself today. What exactly did I just witness over those last three games?

That question has led me to an interesting place emotionally. There isn’t the kick in the gut feeling that I would have expected from a sweep. The confusion involved sort of lets me off the hook in that area.

After all, going into the playoffs, some people had concerns. I didn’t have many, since the Sox were clearly the better team. But, there were some areas that even I was less confident in than others.

None of those areas were Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, or Hanley Ramirez. Never in my wildest fears would I have expected them to bat .167, .111, .200, and .250 respectively for the series. Really. The areas of concern did also not include Rick Porcello. He was as much of a sure thing as the Sox had. Five runs in four innings weren’t exactly on my radar.

So, if I could blame the series on David Price once again blowing up in the playoffs, I could be frustrated today. But, even if you want to call his performance “blowing up”…which it probably was…the offense didn’t score that game. Price could have gone a complete game giving up one run, and the Sox would have lost. This isn’t on him.

If I could blame the loss on Farrell, I might be frustrated. Sure, he did a goofy thing or two. I think he was too quick to pull his starting pitchers. ( I assume it was a case of pulling early to save them for a next start. So, at least there’s a reason.) I was also dumbfounded by the pinch hitting last night. Wasn’t ‘Tendi the only guy hitting the ball? And why was Travis Shaw even on the roster? But, Young reached base pinch hitting, and even Shaw got a hit. So, have a hard time calling those the reasons for the sweep either.

Kimbrel didn’t blow a save. He didn’t explode in a non-save situation. Clay Buchholz gave up two runs. Joe Kelly got lots of outs. Not one of the things people were complaining about before the series came back to bite them.

It came down to your four best hitters (or five, if you include Bogaerts and his .250 average) just having a brutal stretch at the absolute worst time. Whether it was match-ups, or situations, or what. They just disappeared. Not sure I can get too bent out of shape about that.

Because, I believe they tried. I’m not the group that thinks going hitless means you’ve given up. Bogaerts not hitting a curveball isn’t something he just decided not to do or work on. Ortiz didn’t decide that three rings were enough, so he was just going home early. They just didn’t get it done. In some instances, the key hit just didn’t fall in. I really can’t explain it.

I remember after the Red Sox won the Series in 2004, the St. Louis paper started their recap by saying it was too bad. The world didn’t get to see the “real” Cardinals team. The one that cruised through the regular season. The one that kept hitting the cover off the ball. It was just too bad, they said, that the whole team went into a slump at the one time it all mattered. (Of course, in that case they were ignoring the fact that the team “slumped” only when facing Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez. ) 

But, that’s really where I am. It’s just too bad that the real offense didn’t show up. It’s too bad they never got going. It’s too bad they weren’t still on the run they were on a month ago. It’s too bad that their unquestioned strength abandoned them for the worst three-game stretch it could have picked. It cost them in the end.

It’s just too bad.

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