Running Diary: ALDS Game 3

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Greetings everyone! Welcome to the ALDS Game 3 Running Diary! I tried a different tactic for blogging the Red Sox this season; instead of starting out strong and fading towards the end of the year, I’ve decided to show up for the last, most important game of the season. Seems fair, right? In truth, I moved to New York in March to start a new job, and haven’t been able to get back in the swing of things from a blogging standpoint. Of course, I’ve still been following the team (even though I’ve been out of state). It’s been the best worst season that I can remember, all capped off with an extremely disappointing postseason…What better time for a good ol’ fashioned live blog?

Doug Fister (yikes) is about to take the mound, let’s get this thing rolling!

2:40 – George Springer lines the second pitch of the game for a single. The third pitch scoots by Sandy Leon for a passed ball. I should probably stop watching now.

2:42 – My buddy Nick, who’s at the game, texts me: “Cleveland’s top scout is in front of us. Has lots of Houston papers. Also Fenway is maybe 75% full right now.” Awesome!

2:42 – Josh Reddick lines one to center and the Astros lead 1-0. WE’RE OFF TO A HOT START FOLKS!

2:44 – Play by play guy Joe Davis mentions that the Red Sox official Twitter account tweeted that there were still tickets available prior to the game. I saw that tweet, and it bummed me out more than being outscored 16-4 in the first two games. I get that the weather is crappy, and that the series seems over. But a Red Sox playoff ticket used to be the toughest ticket in town, and now they can’t even sell out a home postseason game. It doesn’t help that in last year’s home playoff game vs. Cleveland was especially quiet. Not great for the narrative that Red Sox fans are the most intense in baseball.

2:48 – Carlos Correa rips a hanging curveball over the fence in CF, 3-0 Astros. It’s the 7th first inning HR the Sox have allowed this series. Yep, time to start drinking.

2:53 – A nice play by Xander Bogaerts and Fister is out of the inning. More from Fenway Park Liason Nick: “Whoever is sitting in the owners’ seats near the dugout just gave Fister a standing O off of the field. What game are they watching?”

2:56 – Brad Peacock, who’s come out of nowhere to be one of the Astros’ most consistent starters this year, gets Bogaerts to ground out. Fun Fact: X is now 3-22 with 3 singles and 7 strikeouts since last year’s ALDS. He’s gone from one of the most promising Red Sox prospects ever to one of their more disappointing stars in recent memory, and it genuinely pains me to say that.

3:03 – Dustin Pedroia grounds a single up the middle, but Andrew Benintendi flies to right and Mookie Betts strikes out after a long at-bat. The crowd murmurs their disapproval. Glad everyone is fired up this afternoon!

3:05 – Just saw this tweet from ProJo Sox beat writer Tim Britton:

That doesn’t make me feel much better. To go a step further, The Sox haven’t led  a postseason game since the 3rd inning of Game 1 of last season’s ALDS.

3:08 – Fister allows back to back singles to Carlos Beltran and Yasael Gurriel. Joe Kelly is up in the pen, and it’s hard to imagine this experiment going on for much longer.

3:10 – Brian McCann flies out to center, and here comes John Farrell with the hook.  Farrell has been much maligned for a bevy of questionable moves over the last 2+ seasons, but it’s hard to pin this one on him. I don’t know who else he’s supposed to turn to at this point…every arm has failed him.

3:13 – Joe Kelly enters, and his second pitch sneaks by Leon, allowing the runners to advance. This is turning into a disaster fast. Now that I’ve defended Farrell a bit, I have to ask: HOW IS CHRISTIAN VAZQUEZ NOT IN THIS GAME?

3:19 – Josh Reddick hits a towering fly ball to right field…Mookie ranges over to the warning track, then the fence…AND REACHES INTO THE CROWD TO STEAL THREE RUNS FROM THE ASTROS! I’m begging you baseball gods, please let that be a turning point for this season.

That closes the book on Doug Fister, by the way. A quick rundown of the last six Red Sox postseason starts:

Rick Porcello: 4.1 IP, 5 ER
David Price: 3.1 IP, 5 ER
Clay Buchholz: 4.0 IP, 2  ER
Chris Sale: 5.0 IP, 7 ER
Drew Pomeranz: 2.0 IP, 4 ER
Doug Fister: 1.1 IP, 3 ER

Yeesh.

3:29 – The Sox load the bases with two singles and a walk, then Leon lines a single to left to get Boston on the board! I always liked you Sandy! Bases still juiced, nobody out…Are the Red Sox back???

3:35 – Jackie Bradley Jr. strikes out, Bogaerts hits into a fielder’s choice at home (0-11!) and Pedroia flies out to left. The Red Sox only get 1 run after loading the bases with no outs.

3:41 – SECRET WEAPON DAVID PRICE IS UP IN THE PEN! SOUND THE ALARM!!!! Should he have been starting this game in the first place? Perhaps, but there’s no use crying over spilled milk I suppose.

3:57 – After two straight strikeouts by Peacock, Mitch Moreland launches a two out double to deep center. Then Hanley Ramirez lines a rope juuuuust over the glove of Marwin Gonzalez in left for a two-bagger of his own to cut the deficit in half. ‘Stro’s manager AJ Hinch pulls his starter after just 2.2 innings. Remember when the notoriously-hot-in-October Hanley was benched in favor of a one-legged Eduardo Nunez? Hopefully Farrell does.

4:02 – RAFAEL DEVERS IS OUT HERE SAVING SEASONS LIKE IT’S NO ONE’S BUSINESS! 4-3 RED SOX!

Cue the broadcast team talking about last year’s Super Bowl…which I can 100% get behind. It’s the first lead the Red Sox have had in 45 postseason innings.

4:10 – Price enters the game for Boston…there’s been a ton of talk entering the playoffs about him being the Sox gamechanger out of the pen. Let’s see how this goes now that they finally have a lead.

4:14 – AJ Pierzynski talking about getting on the wrong side of the Boston Media is a 1000000000 out of 10 on the Bill Simmons Unintentional Comedy Scale. That is all.

4:17 – It’s a scoreless 4th from Price, and the crowd is alive! Price has obviously been through the ringer during his first two years in Boston, from underperforming last year, to a poor showing in the 2016 ALDS, to an elbow injury this season, to the debacle in July with Dennis Eckersley. But, as guys like John Lackey can attest to, Boston fans can have a short memory…if you produce in October.

4:45 – Both teams exchange scoreless frames, including Price working out of a mini-jam in the top of the 5th. We’re halfway home, though I’m not sure how much longer Farrell is planning on leaving his $217 million man out there for. He’s already at 32 pitches, though the bottom third of Houston’s order is due up for the 6th. Either way, I can’t say I’m especially looking forward to piecing together the last four innings here. Some insurance runs would be nice.

4:49 – Right on cue, Hanley rips a missile off of the Green Monster to lead off the bottom of the 5th. He’s now 5-9 this series, and 3-3 today. Ramirez was the single most disappointing member of the lineup this season, hitting .242/.320/.429 after an awesome 2016 campaign. But’s he’s been money in the playoffs, slashing .333/.417/.540 over 18 postseason games coming into today. If the Sox want to have any hope of coming back in this series beyond today, they’ll need him to be October Hanley, and not 2017 April through September Hanley.

4:57 – A double play snuffs out any momentum that Ramirez’ wall-ball single generated, and Price comes out for the top of the 6th. Meanwhile, Pierzynski is still blabbering on about friction with the media. The only thing worse than the Astros sweeping us would be listening to Pierzynski and David Cone (both of whom had less-than-stellar seasonlong stints with the Sox) while it happens.

5:02 – Another scoreless inning for Price giving me flashbacks to the 2008 ALCS, but in a good way.

5:07 – I love JBJ. I’d give my life for him. The guy is most effortlessly great center-fielder I’ve seen in a Red Sox uniform. But when he goes cold at the plate, he goes cold enough to deserve his own Mr. Freeze pun:

Anyways, Lance McCullers retires the side in order…As great as Price has been today McCullers has been able to match him, and keep the Houston deficit razor thin.

5:13 – Are Imagine Dragons good? I know we’re in the middle of a massively important ALDS game, but I feel like asking some tough questions. While we’re on a tangent, today’s beer is Sam Adams Harvest Hefe, which is their cinnamon-y/nutmeg-y/pumpkin-y beer. Actually pretty good, if that’s something anyone is interested in.

5:16 – Altuve’s ALDS stats just flashed on the screen: 7-10, 3 HR, 4 RBI. He may be 3’4″, but he’s freaking terrifying. Price walks him, and seems to be tiring….just in time for the meat of Houston’s order…

5:18 – Addison Reed is warming up. I can smell the 2 run HR coming from a mile away.

5:23 – FUCK YEAH DAVID PRICE! What a gutsy relief performance with the season on the line. Still not ruling out a meltdown from Reed, but that was #24’s Lackey moment right there, and damn was it special. Also, Pierzynski should not be allowed to comment on any of the defensive nuances of the catching position, seeing as he was the worst defensive catcher I have ever seen in a Red Sox uniform.

5:32 – Mookie singles to left after a Benintendi walk, and that’ll do it for McCullers. His performance is going to get overshadowed by Price’s if Boston can hold on, but he was almost as impressive. Chris Devinski enters, and Moreland lines a fastball up the gut to load the bases for HANLEY. FREAKING. RAMIREZ. Let’s see if the Sox have better luck with the bases loaded and  no outs this time around…

5:39 – 2-RUN DOUBLE FOR HANLEY! 6-3 BOSTON! A 4-4 DAY FOR EL TRECE! WE’RE BACK IN BUSINESS! CUE THE BRETT FAVRE WRANGLER COMMERCIAL!

Houston, you ain’t seen nothing yet!!

5:43 – And Devers with a bloop single to score another run, to make it 7-3! Not the best outing for Devinski, and more insurance for Reed. As our fearless leader John Farrell would say…LET’S FUCKING HAVE IT.

5:53 – And now Reddick Canseco’s a JBJ fly ball over the wall in right for a 3 run dinger! 10-3 Sox, and we’re rolling now.

Looks like we’re getting a Game 4 at the very least.

5:55 – Bogaerts flies out to left, he’s 0-5 today. Just want to keep everyone a bit grounded.

6:03 – Meanwhile, on Twitter:

6:17 – Reed and Carson Smith shut it down, and that’s the ballgame. Sox take Game 3 10-3. Hey Astros…

 

Rick Porcello gets the ball in Game 4, which means this afternoon was closer to prolonging inevitable doom than the start of a bonafide comeback. But for a team that was facing back to back sweeps in the ALDS, to show any measure of grit and fortitude means the world. Like Kevin Malone said, “It’s just nice to win one.” Porcello is still technically the reigning AL Cy Young award winner, and anything is possible (despite how bad he’s been this year.

We’ll see how things play out tomorrow, though I will say this: I’ve seen the Red Sox come back from worse odds. Houston already made the biggest mistake they could have made…they let us win today.

 

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