Red Sox - 101 010 010 - 4 10 0 Cleveland - 013 010 00x - 5 10 0Cleveland hit three solo home runs off Rick Porcello (4.1-6-5-0-6, 72) in the third inning. Drew Pomeranz allowed an inherited runner to score in the fifth, but left the bases loaded, giving his teammates a chance to fight back.
But Playoff Assassin Tito was working in the opposing dugout and he used Andrew Miller in the middle innings to stifle the Boston bats, then called on Cody Allen for a five-out save. Allen's first batter, David Ortiz, doubled, but a pinch-runner (as the potential tying run) was stranded at third. Allen struck out three batters in the ninth, as the Red Sox hitters, as they had been doing all night long, kept trying (and failing) to hit pitches that were well outside and usually in the dirt.
The night started strong for Boston as Dustin Pedroia doubled to right field. Brock Holt followed with a single and the Red Sox had runners at first and third against Trevor Bauer (4.2-6-3-0-6, 78). Mookie Betts struck out and Ortiz fouled to first, but Hanley Ramirez doubled to center. Holt tried to score and was initially called safe on a head-first slide, but the call was overturned when Cleveland manager Terry Francona challenged the call.
Cleveland tied the score in the second when Jose Ramirez doubled and scored on Lonnie Chisenhall's single. Chisenhall advanced to second on Jackie Bradley's poor throw to the plate, but when the Red Sox challenged, that call was overturned and Chisenhall was called out.
Boston took a 2-1 lead when Andrew Benintendi homered to open the third. He was the first Red Sox rookie to homer in his postseason debut and the youngest Red Sox player to hit a postseason home run (22 years, 92 days). Porcello could not hold the lead, though, as Roberto Perez led off the bottom of the third with a game-tying solo shot. After Carlos Santana grounded out, Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor went back-to-back. Progressive Field was rocking and the TBS announcers were unable to suppress their glee. TBS showed those three home runs approximately 50 times each throughout the night.
Hanley Ramirez cracked his second double of the night with one out in the fourth, but both Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley were over-anxious and both struck out. Sandy Leon's solo home run in the fifth cut Cleveland's lead to 4-3. Two outs later, Francona pulled Bauer and brought in Miller. Holt greeted the bearded lefty with a double and Betts walked, bringing Ortiz to the plate. Miller threw four pitches outside the strike zone, but home plate umpire Brian Knight called two of them strikes. Ortiz now had no idea what the strike zone was, and he swung and missed what would have been "ball 5" for the third out. Knight effectively took control of that inning and personally killed the Red Sox's rally.
Porcello allowed a leadoff single to Perez in the fifth and after he got Santana to fly to left (Perez tagged and hustled to second), John Farrell pulled him and brought in Pomeranz (who had apparently won a spot in the bullpen thanks to a good relief effort in the season's final game). Pom looked like crap here, though. Kipnis's single scored Perez and made it 5-3. Mike Napoli hit a two-out ground-rule double to left and Pomeranz intentionally walked Ramirez to load the bases. At the time, it felt like the game was in danger of getting out of hand - and Pomeranz struck out Chisenhall.
Miller retired the Red Sox in order in the sixth and got the first two in the seventh; Bryan Shaw got the third out. Shaw started the eighth and Holt homered to right, again bringing Boston to within one run. (TBS, however, did not begin showing Boston's three homers non-stop.) Betts popped out to the pitcher and Francona called on Allen. Ortiz hit a ball to the gap in right-center and was moving as fast as he could, and he legged out a double. Francona challenged the call, but it was upheld - and Marco Hernandez pinch-ran. Ramirez grounded to second and Hernandez went to third. But he died there as Bogaerts had a horrendous at-bat, swinging wildly at Allen's outside pitches in the dirt.
In the ninth, it was more of the same. Bradley struck out swinging at a very high fastball. Leon struck out for the second out. Benintendi singled to right, and the Red Sox had a glimmer of hope. Pedroia battled for eight pitches but he half-swung at a pitch that was in the dirt and was called out.
Holt was 3-for-4, and finished the night a triple shy of the cycle. ... On the other side, Bogaerts was 0-for-4, with a dribbler to the pitcher and three strikeouts. .. Bradley struck out three times and popped to short. ... Pedroia also struck out three times. ... Porcello had not allowed as many as five runs in a start since July 24.
Pedroia, 2BAmerican League Division Series
G1 - Thu 1006 - Red Sox at Cleveland, 8 PM G2 - Fri 1007 - Red Sox at Cleveland, 4:30 PM G3 - Sun 1009 - Cleveland at Red Sox, 4 PM G4 - Mon 1010 - Cleveland at Red Sox G5 - Wed 1012 - Red Sox at ClevelandIt will be David Price/Corey Kluber in Game 2 and Josh Tomlin/Clay Buchholz in Game 3.
The best-of-five series pits Cleveland manager Terry Francona - who managed the Red Sox to Word Series titles in 2004 and 2007 - against his former pitching coach in Boston, John Farrell. Farrell also once worked as the director of player development in Cleveland. Mike Napoli, a member of Boston's 2013 World Champion team, is Cleveland's first baseman and former Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller is in the opposing bullpen. Beyond the Box Score took a look at Francona's managing style here.
Cleveland's rotation has been hit by injuries, with Kluber being sidelined because of a quadriceps strain (but will start Game 2), Danny Salazar available only out of the bullpen and Carlos Carrasco (broken hand) out for the season.
Bauer faced the Red Sox twice this year, allowing six runs and 10 hits over six innings. He allowed two runs in one inning of relief on Opening Day at Cleveland (1-2-2-1-2) and gave up four runs in five innings as a starter on May 21 in Boston (5-8-4-2-0). Boston won both of those games.
Porcello faced Cleveland only once in 2016, May 22 at Fenway Park: 5.2-5-2-1-5 in Boston's 5-2 win
This ALDS will feature the top two AL teams in runs scored per game. Boston led the league in runs scored, finishing 101 runs ahead of second-place Cleveland.
RS AVG OBP SLG OPS TB Boston 878 .282 .348 .461 .810 2615 Cleveland 777 .262 .329 .430 .759 2356Looking at OPS+, Boston remains #1 while Cleveland drops to 12th.
AVG: Boston #1, Cleveland #3-T
OBP: Boston #1, Cleveland #4
SLG: Boston #1, Cleveland #5
Doubles: Boston #1, Cleveland #2
Walks: Boston #2, Cleveland #4
Although the Red Sox lost the last two games of the regular season (and five of their last six), they had a fantastic September, going 19-8, their highest win total in any month this season. Boston averaged 5.6 runs per game (1st in MLB) and posted a 3.05 team ERA (3rd in MLB) in September, including a 1.77 bullpen ERA (2nd in MLB).
The Red Sox were a season-worst 5.5 GB on the morning of June 30. A few days later, on July 2, they were trounced by the Angels 21-2. After that, Boston went 50-32, the 2nd best record in MLB behind the Cubs.
SB Nation ranked all of the 25 possible World Series match-ups. Red Sox/Cubs (a 1918 rematch!) comes in at #7.
Will we see Playoff Assassin Farrell this month? What is told Alex Speier earlier this season (my emphasis) is encouraging:
You've got to remain flexible. You've got to remain quick, because it is the most volatile part of any given team. The postseason is, I think, very different than the regular season for a number of factors: One, certainly the urgency of the game you're in. You're dealing with starters who have got a high number of innings pitched already. Prior to going into the 2013 postseason, I did a little research on a historical level for my own standpoint, and the most games were won and lost in the seventh inning. So, going into that, I looked at the seventh inning as maybe the most pivotal time in the course of that game. Maybe you're getting the bullpen started an inning before you normally would, even for a starter who's been very good for you and who's been an elite performer throughout. So, you're mindful of the seventh inning being that time because the stress on pitches in the postseason is much greater than the regular season.Finally, how the Red Sox have finished throughout David Ortiz's career:
W L AL EAST POSTSEASON 2003 95 67 2nd place Lost ALCS 2004 98 64 2nd place Won World Series 2005 95 67 2nd place Lost ALDS 2006 86 76 3rd place 2007 96 66 1st place Won World Series 2008 95 67 2nd place Lost ALCS 2009 95 67 2nd place Lost ALDS 2010 89 73 3rd place 2011 90 72 3rd place 2012 69 93 5th place 2013 97 65 1st place Won World Series 2014 71 91 5th place 2015 78 84 5th place 2016 93 67 1st place ???