Not only did Boston lose a base runner, but there was one out. ... Graffanino forced Mueller and Damon struck out. Clement was sent back out for the fourth, he gave those two runs back right away, and the rout was on.
It was a play you don't see very often. It's a play that, probably, if he had to do it over again, he would have taken the out at first. But he went to third, threw the ball in the dirt that Joe Crede made a good play on. It could have been a costly mistake if Crede doesn't make that play ...A stupid play from a stupid ballplayer.
I had no clue he would go to third, but when I got there, I could see third base coach Dale Sveum yelling, 'Down, down, down.' As a baserunner, you think on a ball to the right side, you're advancing to third base. Billy Mueller did a good job getting me over, but the big thing was he hit that ball hard.
After that half-inning, trailing 6-2, Francona never considered pulling Clement with the 7-8-9 hitters coming up for the White Sox:
No, we wanted to get him further in the game. We got Bradford up the next inning. We wanted to get Matt through the leadoff hitter. We would bring Bradford in to face the right hitters and get out of the inning, and we could go longer if we needed to. He gave up the home run before we could even get there. It fell apart in a hurry.Clement became the first Red Sox pitcher to surrender five runs in the first inning of a postseason game since Smoky Joe Wood in Game 7 of the 1912 World Series.
Johnny Damon was pretty blunt in his post-game comments:
I'm not even sure who our No. 1 guy is. So I'm not sure if we could have set up our rotation, who would have been going Game 1. I thought Matt was a good choice. I thought he was going to go out there and make guys look silly. He just didn't have it. He hasn't had it this past month.Ortiz:
It's not news that our pitching needs to hold the opposing team down. We don't get that, we're going to be in trouble. Playoffs, when you give up 14 runs, what's happening?Francona:
It was a lot of missed locations. He missed by some pretty good margins quite a few times.At the Soxaholix, one guy says that Clement "was throwing so much gahbage he now owes a kickback to the Gambino crime family."
I hope I get a chance to redeem myself, but if it's not [meant to be], if they want me to relieve, whenever ... I'm going to be ready. We're not worried about Game 5 right now. We're worried about Game 2.Jackie MacMullan (Globe) asks the predictable question:
[T]he Red Sox boast a wonderful and colorful history of bouncing back, but the biggest question this morning is: Does Clement have what it takes to follow suit? ... [I]t was his no-decision last Thursday night that left me with doubts about his mental fortitude in big games.The Red Sox have been involved in four of the nine biggest blowout games in baseball playoff history:
That regular-season game against Toronto was critical to Boston's postseason chances. ... Clement was knocked around for four runs and eight hits in five-plus innings. ... The lanky righthander's body language said it all that night. He looked, acted, and pitched like he was tight.
After each inning, he walked off the mound with his head down and shoulders slumped. In pressure situations, you need to at least fake a sense of command. Clement was unable to do that last week, and again yesterday.
Manny Ramirez went 0-for-4, ending his postseason hitting streak at 17 games (tied for longest in history with Hank Bauer (1956-58) and Derek Jeter (1998-99)). ... Wells: "I'm feeling pretty good right now, but I hope we can just win the whole thing and I can run off into the sunset and say good-bye."Oct. 10, 1999 Red Sox 23, Indians 7
Oct. 17, 1996 Braves 15, Cardinals 0
Oct. 14, 1996 Braves 14, Cardinals 0
Oct. 2, 1984 Cubs 13, Padres 0
Oct. 4, 2005 White Sox 14, Red Sox 2
Oct. 16, 1999 Red Sox 13, Yankees 1
Oct. 16, 2004 Yankees 19, Red Sox 8
Oct. 7, 1993 Braves 14, Phillies 3
Oct. 9, 1974 Dodgers 12, Pirates 1
There are accusations from a current and a former Yankee that Wells applies shaving cream to the ball during games. Posada admits it's hard to catch Wells in the act, because "you can't see it, you can't feel it, you can't smell it." Oh, okay.