Another ALDS has come and gone, and for the second consecutive year, the Boston Red Sox have been eliminated from postseason competition. The Sox were defeated by the Houston Astros in four games, with the Red Sox only delaying the inevitable by getting the win in game three on Sunday.
So what went wrong for the Red Sox? For one, Boston’s starting rotation could not keep the Astros batters from getting on base and subsequently scoring. In game one, the normally lights-out Chris Sale gave up seven runs in five innings, including three home runs. Two of those three homers came in the first inning as well, off the bats of Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman. Altuve would add a second homer off Sale in the fifth, and a third off Austin Maddox in the seventh. In game two, breakout pitcher Drew Pomeranz put on a performance more likened to his dreadful time in Colorado than his 2017 campaign, giving up four runs in only two innings of work. If the Red Sox had a chance against the Astros, they needed Sale and Pomeranz to be lights-out, but the opposite was true. Even in Boston’s only win in game three, Doug Fister only lasted 1.1 innings, allowing three runs in the process. Sale was sent to the mound in relief of Rick Porcello in game four, and pitched much better than his outing in game one, but it wasn’t enough to pull away with the win, as Bregman homered in the eighth to tie the game at 3, and Carlos Beltran hit an RBI double in the ninth inning off Craig Kimbrel. The run made the score 5-3, and even an inside-the-park home run by Rafael Devers in the bottom of the ninth wasn’t enough to win the game.
The Red Sox also had no answer for the Astros’ stellar pitching. In the first two games, Astros starters Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel were unhittable, as the Red Sox only managed to score two runs in each game. In game three, the Red Sox did get on the score sheet, using the momentum of a game at Fenway Park to explode for 10 runs, including a six-run inning in the seventh. Verlander was brought in to game four in relief, and was once again unhittable.
Not only were the Astros pitchers stellar, but Boston’s hitters were also struggling. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who was one of the stalwarts in the Red Sox lineup during the regular season, was held to only one hit in 17 at bats. Leadoff hitter and captain Dustin Pedroia also had a rough postseason, batting .125 with only two total bases. The only bright spot in the Red Sox order came from rookie Devers, who batted .364, and designated hitter Hanley Ramirez, who batted an impressive 8-14.
Despite the Red Sox being eliminated much earlier than they had hoped, they should be able to go into the offseason optimistic about the season. The 2017 season saw the emergence of a rookie star in Devers, the dominance of Sale on the mound, and some breakout performances by some unlikely players, like Pomeranz and first baseman Mitch Moreland.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new Boston Red Sox article is published, fill out our email notification form.