Red Sox, Ortiz look to make amends
NEW YORK -- The next time David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox conduct postgame interviews, they hope their comments take place in a raucous clubhouse during a boisterous celebration for clinching the American League East.
The Red Sox did not clinch Tuesday as Ortiz was 0-for-5 with two strikeouts and stranded seven runners during a 6-4 loss.
Their next opportunity will be Wednesday in Ortiz's penultimate game against the Yankees.
The Red Sox won 11 of their last 12 to be in position for their eighth division title. They need a win, or a loss by Toronto to Baltimore, but neither happened in the series opener.
Ortiz's comments were also as quiet as his bat. He did not field any questions and before exiting the clubhouse said: "That ain't fun. They got me out, just put it down like that. They tricked me tonight. Too much talking between the pitcher and catcher. I'll trick them tomorrow."
If Ortiz can "trick the Yankees" by getting more big hits in a win, the Red Sox will be division champions, doing so after starting their 11-game streak with four straight victories over the Yankees at Fenway Park.
"I mean it's what he always does," Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts said. "He comes through in those situations. Nobody's perfect so he'll be ready to go tomorrow."
Beside Ortiz's inability to add to his 124 RBIs, David Price allowed three home runs among 12 hits in 6 1/3 innings.
The Red Sox hope Clay Buchholz can continue his recent resurgence and further improve his chances of being on the postseason roster. The Red Sox can use an effective Buchholz since Drew Pomeranz (forearm soreness) was scratched from his Thursday start and Steven Wright remains out with shoulder bursitis.
On the surface, Buchholz's numbers of 8-10 with a 5.00 ERA in in 36 appearances (20 starts), are not appealing but playoff roster construction often is a "what have you done for me lately" business.
And for Buchholz, the answer is this: 4-0 with a 3.09 ERA in his last six starts. Those wins are not necessarily a situation where he has been blessed with tremendous run support.
"I knew it wasn't going to be bad all year," Buchholz told reporters in Baltimore last week. "There were a stretch that I didn't really know what was going on and I didn't know how to fix it. And when I tried to fix it, I was trying too hard and overdoing a lot of things, overanalyzing."
His run of effective starts began Aug. 16 and 23 in a 4-3 loss and a 2-1 victory against Detroit and Tampa Bay, respectively. Three relief appearances followed and then came four more starts this month against San Diego, Toronto, New York and Baltimore.
Only the start against the Blue Jays can be considered ineffective as Buchholz allowed six runs and four hits in three innings of Boston's 11-8 victory. In the other three starts, he allowed four earned runs and 18 hits in 19 2/3 innings.
Buchholz is 6-9 with a 5.99 ERA in 19 appearances (18 starts) against the Yankees. On Sept. 16, he allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings at Fenway Park.
The Yankees have won five of their last 15 games following a seven-game winning streak and are barely mathematically alive. They are four games behind Baltimore with five to play, but also are behind Houston, Seattle and Detroit.
Gary Sanchez hit his 20th home run and Tyler Austin had the tiebreaking home run in the seventh Tuesday, and at this point the storylines for the Yankees are not about postseason plans but development.
"There are some good things that have happened but no because we're about winning championships and whenever you fall short, there's a ton of disappointment," manager Joe Girardi said when asked if this season has been successful. "It's very difficult. You look and examine everything that's went on with the player and what you need to do to get to that level. So I think there are successful stories but as an overall success, no."
Bryan Mitchell makes his fifth start of the season and eighth of his career Wednesday for the Yankees. He pitched in Friday's 9-0 loss at Toronto but allowed three runs (one earned) and six hits in a career-high six innings.