Last night was a perfect microcosm of the Boston Red Sox' season. Clay Buchholz was called upon in Game Three of the American League Divisional Series in hopes of keeping Boston's season alive. Unfortunately, that was not the case and the Red Sox fell 4-3 to the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park. A clean sweep and a far cry from what I thought would happen. .
Nevertheless, Buchholz was not all that bad. In four innings of work, Buchholz relinquished six hits and two runs, while striking out four Indians. While these numbers aren't great, what did we truly expect from the native Texan? Most people were calling for Buchholz' head at the Trade Deadline, but yet now fans think he should go hurl seven shutout innings?
Once the Red Sox had to go to their bullpen, this game, series and season was over. While the bullpen had been satisfactory up until this point, it was a major question mark heading into the postseason and would not go so quietly into the night before making a loud exit in 2016. Drew Pomeranz came into this game in relief once Buchholz' night was over, and gave up a two-run home run to old friend Coco Crisp. Mind you, Crisp had not hit a home run in the postseason since 2012 and is a career .167 hitter in the Fall Classic.
The Red Sox offense would try to scratch and claw their way back, but the combination of the Tribe's bullpen, which is highlighted by Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw, and Cody Allen, and Boston's poor performance at the plate doomed this young team. Fortunately for the Red Sox, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen were not particularly sharp last night. Miller was having trouble throwing strikes, but Red Sox hitters were swinging at balls in the dirt, which was ultimately the deciding factor in this series. Manager Terry Francona and company let it be known from the first pitch of Game One that Red Sox hitters would be seeing a steady dose of off-speed pitches out of the strike zone.
It is hard to call this season a disappointment, as the Red Sox went from worst-to-first in the American League East. Fans saw the emergence of Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts, all of whom started in this year's All-Star Game in San Diego, California. We also saw the solidification of veterans, such as Hanley Ramirez, Rick Porcello and Dustin Pedroia. There were legitimate question marks about these guys coming into the season, but they proved that they can be relied upon for an entire season.
Nonetheless, the Red Sox won 11 straight games, then proceeded to go 1-8 in their final nine games, including the postseason. The Red Sox featured the best offense in all of baseball, but could only muster up a measly seven runs in this series, while also getting shutout in Game Two. No matter how you look at it, the Red Sox choked at the end of this season.
There are a lot of question marks with this Red Sox team that should be addressed sooner rather than later. Will the Red Sox throw big money at a middle of the order bat, such as Edwin Encarnacion or Jose Bautista, in an effort to replace David Ortiz? Will John Farrell still be the manager on Opening Day in 2017? How will the Red Sox improve their starting rotation and bullpen?
Even though the baseball season is over, we will continue to talk baseball throughout the offseason and keep you updated on the latest news and rumors. I want to personally thank everyone for making this the most successful season for Biased Boston Sports. Our Red Sox fans and viewers are one of the main reasons for our success, and we love writing for each and every one of you.
Keep the faith, Red Sox Nation!