The Boston Red Sox have returned from 3-1 deficits in the playoffs 3 times in their team history. Now down 3-1 to the Rays in 2008, the Red Sox will have to make a few major adjustments to have any hopes of advancing once again. Here are 8 reasons why the Red Sox are failing in this year’s ALCS.
1. The Red Sox have surrendered 31 runs in the last 3 postseason games. Blame the pitching if you must, but the other areas of the defense have also tipped the bucket this postseason.
2. They can’t pitch! Pitching has allowed 14 combined runs in the first three innings of the last three games. Enough said.
3. The only thing the Boston bullpen can produce is runs for the Rays. Time after time the Rays are simply crushing the ball no matter who Boston sends to the mound.
4. Oh no! Papi left his bat at home. Big Papi is 1-14 against the Rays, and in the process he has left 10 runners on base. You can’t blame David Ortiz for everything, or can you? When his bat does not hit statistics show that the Red Sox will struggle to win games. The ignition for the Sox offense is “spuddering”.
5. Everyone is focused on Ortiz not crushing the ball. Baseball is a game of failure and instead of dwelling on one individual player the Boston Red Sox need to step up and deliver when David is not. Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies lead his team from the top of the lineup all season until the playoffs. As soon as Rollins began to slump Shane Victorino picked up the slack leading the league in postseason RBI’s. In other words, Boston needs a Victorino, someone who can ignite the offense.
6. Manny Ramirez is playing for the Dodgers! Ouch! Sorry Red Sox fans, I just had to bring it up. Mlb.com is reporting that since the “Manny Trade” Ortiz batted .262 in 49 games, with nine homers and 42 RBIs. These stats are not particularly terrible, but they are way under the bar in respect to Big Papi standards. In 2007, Ortiz finished the year with 117 RBI and a batting average of .332-incomparable to his average of .264 in 2008.
7. Last year’s World Series MVP, third baseman Mike Lowell is on the bench with a hip operation pending. In the regular season Lowell had 419 plate appearances, 27 home runs and 73 RBIs. His presence is definitely missed in the 6th spot.
8. Wakefield’s knuckleball is not working! Heading into game 4, Wakefield had an ERA of 5.87. When a knuckleball pitcher’s most deadly weapon is not deadly anymore, one side of the score board will rise just like gas prices do when a thunderstorm hits Florida.
The Rays have proven themselves fearless with nothing to lose throughout the entire playoffs, hitting the ball hard in every at bat. However, these failures mentioned above do not necessarily mean Boston can not adjust. As history tells us, THEY”VE BEEN HERE BEFORE!! Rallying from a 3-1 deficit seems to be always in reach especially for the Boston Red Sox (last year against the Yankees down 3-0, and the Indians down 3-1). Anything is possible in October and I think Boston fans will be glad to see Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound as we head into game 5 Thursday night.