Why David Ortiz and the Red Sox can forget about another crazy comeback
The Red Sox desperately wanted to give David Ortiz a championship send-off, but it’s more likely that Big Papi will play his final game at Fenway Park either Sunday or Monday.
That’s because the Indians have dominated their way to a commanding 2-0 ALDS lead over the Red Sox.
And while some will argue that the ALDS is merely going according to form with the Indians defending home-field advantage, it certainly feels far-fetched to even predict the series will make it back to Cleveland after Boston was shut out 6-0 on Friday.
Of course, the Red Sox have faced similarly ominous odds during the Ortiz era. In 2004, they famously overcame a 3-0 ALCS deficit against the Yankees and went on the win the World Series. In 2007, they overcame a 3-1 ALCS deficit against the Indians and went on to win the World Series. And after they were in danger of falling behind 3-1 in the 2013 World Series, Boston rallied to win the championship after Ortiz’s inspirational dugout speech in Game 4.
So perhaps the Red Sox have the Indians right where they want them. But probably not. Consider:
* Boston limped into the playoffs after losing five of its past six regular season games, nearly getting no-hit at home in the finale against the Blue Jays — a team trending in the completely opposite direction over the same span. In those five losses, the Red Sox managed a total of just 12 runs. Their late-season fade not only cost them home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs, it sent them Cleveland for the first two games of the ALDS.
* The Red Sox’s best two starting pitchers have been clobbered. It’s easy to imagine things would have been quite different if Rick Porcello had pitched Game 1 at Fenway Park, where he was 13-1 with a 2.97 ERA this season. And maybe David Price would even have solved his puzzling postseason woes on the home mound. In reality, however, Boston’s survival now rests on the shoulders of Clay Buchholz and Eduardo Rodriguez — two enigmatic pitchers who just as easily could be out of the game by the fourth inning as pitch a gem.
* Through the first two games of the ALDS, the Red Sox are getting out-hit (Ortiz, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia and Jackie Bradley Jr. are a combined 4-for-36), outpitched (no explanation necessary), outmanaged (Terry Francona has pushed every correct button) and outsmarted (Roberto Perez tagging from first in Game 1 and eventually scoring the game-winning run; Mike Napoli taking second base on a delayed steal in Game 2). That’s all going to suddenly change?
* Even if the bats awaken at Fenway and Boston can force a Game 5 in Cleveland on Wednesday, the Red Sox would be greeted by … Corey Kluber on full rest.
Ortiz and the Red Sox have been down before, but it appears they actually will be out this time.