Well, that’s it, the season is over. What looked so promising just a few hours ago ended in disappointment. The Red Sox had the lead in this game going into the eighth inning, but they could not hold on.
Once again, the starting pitching was abysmal, with Rick Porcello only lasting three full innings before getting saved by Chris Sale. In that span, Porcello surrendered two runs on five hits, three walks, and a hit batsman to go along with four strikeouts. Allowing nine guys to reach base while only being able to record nine outs is far from spectacular, especially if you take into account that he needed 70 pitches to do so. Like I said though, Chris Sale stepped up like David Price did yesterday. He took things over in the fourth inning and was nails until the eighth. Four innings pitched, two walks, and six strikeouts from the fourth until the seventh. Did they stretch him too far? Maybe, but I didn’t have a problem letting Sale start the eighth. Unfortunately, he was running out of gas, and the Astros took advantage of it. Alex Bregman tied the game by taking Sale deep on a 2-1 changeup and the air was taken out of Fenway Park. Craig Kimbrel would come on with two outs in the inning, and that marked the beginning of the end. A George Springer walk put runners on first and second with two outs and Josh Reddick at the plate. The former Red Sox farm hand drove in the go-ahead run on an RBI single to left, essentially ending his former team’s season.
Carlos Beltran drove in another run in the ninth, which proved to make a difference given what Rafael Devers in the bottom half of the inning. All and all, when we needed him most, Craig Kimbrel basically disappeared. The flamethrower did not make many big pitches tonight, nor did he prove effective in his first meaningful action of this series. It was only one run, but that matters too much in the postseason to go untouched.
On the other side of things, Charlie Morton wasn’t too good either. He was charged with two runs in 4.1 innings he pitched, though he only allowed one run while he was on the mound. That run came early for the Red Sox, as Xander Bogaerts hit his first and only home run of the postseason in the first.
The second run was charged in part because of Justin Verlander. Surprisingly, Astros manager decided to make like the Red Sox and roll with his best starter out of the bullpen. Andrew Benintendi introduced him to the new role by taking him deep to right field for a two-run home run, giving his team a 3-2 lead.
I was really feeling it after this. I was already thinking about Game 5 in Houston on Wednesday when I shouldn’t have been. That was the only hit Verlander allowed and he definitely deserved that W he picked up.
The Astros closer Ken Giles came on after Verlander responsible for the last six outs of the game and ending the Red Sox season. He got them in order in the eighth, but the ninth got very interesting. Rafael Devers led off the inning with an inside the park home run in one of the most surprising plays these eyes have seen.
Unfortunately, the next three batters could not do anything against Giles and Dustin Pedroia ended the season with a ground out.
I forgot to mention it before, but John Farrell was ejected from this game arguing balls and strikes in the second. Also, Brian Butterfield pretty much cost the Red Sox a run in the third by sending Mitch Moreland home when he should not have. If these two things don’t happen who knows how this game goes.
With all that out-of-the-way and the season coming to an end, Dave Dombrowski has a lot to consider this offseason. Does John Farrell remain manager? Do they go after Giancarlo Stanton? JD Martinez? Resign Mitch Moreland? Eduardo Nunez? Only time will tell. Should be a long offseason, wish it could have been a little shorter.
As for me, I’ll have a few blogs coming this week recapping the year and what to expect this offseason. Thanks for a great season, I had a lot of fun doing this.