Tito And The Tribe Sweep Away Red Sox And Papi, 4-3
Papi's Final At-Bat (FenwayNation Photo)
It was a bittersweet night at Fenway Park. This ALDS exposed some of the fundamental flaws that beset The Carmine Hose—flawsthat were swept under the rug by 11-game winning streaks and gaudy offensive numbers. Basically, this team is not deep—not deep in pitching, not deep on the bench, not deep in the bullpen. All three of these "phases" of the game (as Bill Belichick might say) are critical to a deep playoff run. This year, that run was anything but deep. Last night, after falling behind 2-0 and 4-1, the Red Sox at least battled back—with key hits by Andrew Benintendi, Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts and Travis Shaw. But the comeback fell short (in the final 4-3 loss)—partly due to bad luck (multiple line shots snagged by Tribe defenders) and partly due to the sad reality that this team just wasn't that good. As a microcosm of the year, Clay Buchholz was "OK", but just not good enough. The MLB's best offense slumped at the wrong time and their "elite" starters were anything but. Game. Set. Series. The final David Ortiz at-bat of his career (an unintentional intentional walk) was emblematic of the limp feeling at Fenway. A season was over and an era.