The ALCS finally found some normalcy, but it came at the cost of a Game 4 loss for the Boston Red Sox, tying up the series at two games a piece.
This loss, really, can be placed on the shoulders of two players: Jake Peavy, and Dustin Pedroia.
It's hard to believe that those two would be the ones falling so dramatically apart in a postseason game, particularly after Peavy acquitted himself of the "perennial choker" status imbued by all of two previous playoff starts, but that's what happened. And almost all of it went down in the second.
It started innocuously enough--a Victor Martinez single, something the Red Sox have seen a fair bit of this series. That, however, was where the Detroit lineup was supposed to fall off. Batters six-through-nine do not inspire fear in Leyland's new-look batting order. But apparently nobody told Peavy, who simply stopped throwing strikes. Four pitches to Jhonny Peralta saw him take first base free of charge, and while Alex Avila at least had to work for it, he too reached on ball four. Peavy finally got his first out of the inning when Jacoby Ellsbury charged in to catch a weak fly that seemed destined for no man's land.
Then the unthinkable happened in back-to-back at bats: Jake Peavy walked Austin Jackson--Austin Jackson!--on four pitches to bring in the first run of the inning, and Dustin Pedroia booted a tailor-made double play ball to allow a second to come across.
The mistake would prove more costly than just that, though. Rather than being out of the inning, Peavy was left with runners on the corners, and surrendered three more runs before the frame was over, leaving Boston in a 5-0 hole. That would just get worse when the Tigers plated two more against him in the fourth, with Dustin Pedroia having Austin Jackson's RBI single deflect off his glove in the process. Not an easy play, but one Red Sox fans are used to seeing Pedroia make.
Those seven runs were enough to effectively end the Red Sox' night, but there are still some small silver linings to this game. For once, the Red Sox did not look overmatched at the plate. In fact, they picked up 12 hits and three runs. The biggest issue came with cashing in on baserunners--had the Sox clustered their hits together a bit better, they might have actually been able to keep up. Unfortunately, Five men left on for David Ortiz and four for Stephen Drew in a combined 0-for-9 performance really tells the tale.
Still, if it means that maybe the Red Sox offense is starting to remember what it used to be? If they can carry over some confidence into Game 3? If Xander Bogaerts, who hit a ground rule double off Joaquin Benoit in his one at bat of the night, can get a start as a result? Maybe it will have all been worth the loss.
Read more Red Sox:
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- Baseball America names Xander Bogaerts the #1 International League prospect
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