For the seventh time in franchise history, the Boston Red Sox were shut out in a playoff game. Game 3 will require better at-bats & better pitching.
With the king of Cleveland LeBron James looking on, his court of over 37 800 people rose to their feet as Red Sox starter David Price was rocked for five earned runs on six hits, two walks, and three strikeouts in only 3.1 innings against the Cleveland Indians. The response from Boston? Going 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and leaving six Red Sox players on base.
For the second game in a row, Cleveland simply outmatched the Red Sox, showing why they were the 2016 American League Central division champions.
One man was not impressed with his own efforts and the efforts of his teammates, both at the plate and on the mound, in what could be the last playoff series of his career. David Ortiz, the face of the franchise and one of the most beloved Red Sox players of all time, went 0-for-4 while the entire team could only muster three hits and three walks while striking out eight times.
Darren Hartwell of NESN reported that after Ortiz was asked if he was surprised by the last two games, he responded saying, ““Why should I be? […] They’re playing better than what we are.” Hartwell agreed, stating that “The Red Sox’s offense has struggled mightily, going just 13-for-65 (.200 batting average) over the first two games with 22 strikeouts. Their two best starters, Rick Porcello and David Price, allowed a total of 10 runs over a combined 7 2/3 innings in two underwhelming showings.”
Ian Browne of MLB.com reported another Red Sox leader Dustin Pedroia saying, “I think we lost who we are — we’re the Boston Red Sox […] We need to go out there and play the game. We should dictate the tempo of the game and how everything should be played. The last couple of days, they did that and we didn’t. We have to get to our workout [Saturday] and play pitch by pitch the next game and that’s all we can do right now.”
That truly is all that the Red Sox can do, since the last two games have been complete beatdowns. There were no singular moments or mistakes that can be pointed to as being the problem. Cleveland has been just that much better than Boston, thus far.
And, it’s not like things get that much easier on Sunday.
The Red Sox travel back home to Fenway Park to try to avoid the series sweep, but they have to do it against Cleveland’s starter Josh Tomlin. Only Pedroia has a decent batting average against Tomlin in more than seven career at-bats, compared to the rest of the team. Pedroia has hit .298 in 17 at-bats, Ortiz is .214 in 14 at-bats, and Jackie Bradley Jr. has a .429 average but in only seven at-bats. Mookie Betts, one of the shining stars in the Red Sox lineup, has only a .167 average in six at-bats, which exactly matches his totals in the last two games.
If the Red Sox continue to struggle at the plate, Game 3 starter Clay Buchholz may be the only person standing between Boston and a series sweep. This man is the same pitcher whom members of Red Sox Nation felt should have been traded at the end of July. His recent success earned him the start over the other members of the pitching rotation; however, that won’t stop the parish in the cathedral of Boston from praying that something sparks fire to thaw out the Red Sox bats.