It was a tough series for some of the Red Sox’ younger players. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)
Maybe the Red Sox weren’t ready for the big stage.
Of the nine starters, five players made their postseason debuts this past week and their inexperience may have shown up as the Red Sox were swept 3-0 in the ALDS by the Indians.
Jackie Bradley Jr. went 1-for-10 with seven strikeouts. Mookie Betts went 2-for-10. Sandy Leon went 1-for-10 with five strikeouts. And even though Xander Bogaerts played in the 2013 playoffs, he was a rookie and he too struggled in the series going 3-for-12 with four strikeouts.
“It’s definitely a great experience,” Bogaerts said. “A lot of pressure, but you have to learn how to control it, you have to learn how to think in that moment and just not over think a lot of stuff. Just be in the moment and be focused.”
For Betts, a MVP candidate, it looked like at times particularly in Cleveland the big stage may have got to him a bit.
“It’s the same game it’s just pressure — if you add pressure,” he said. “Everything counts. Every pitch counts. Every at-bat counts. It’s something new for a lot of us. Next year we have to be ready for it.”
Added Betts: “We’ll be OK, I know that. We are going to take this as a positive. Now we know what to kind of expect going into the playoffs.”
There were two players making their playoff debuts who had good series’ as Brock Holt went 4-for-10 and Andrew Benintendi went 3-for-9. A good sign for the future.
Bogaerts was asked about what lessons he learned this season and within his answer there may be a sign that the Red Sox took the Indians too lightly, especially with how depleted their rotation was entering the series.
“Baseball is 27 outs,” he said. “Never underestimate anyone. Not that we did, but they obviously had two of the best starters injured, but the other guys that they pitched they did a good job for them. They got the win. It doesn’t matter what team you have on paper, you still have to go out there and play at the end of the game. The best team wins.”
For Bogaerts it was an especially tough series as he had the first two hits of the game for the Red Sox in Game 3, but wanted one more as he hit a wicked liner right at second baseman Jason Kipnis for the final out in the eighth, which prevented the game-tying run from scoring.
“We just didn’t make it happen,” he said. “If that line drive I hit at the end, if it was somewhere else it would have been a base hit and a different situation. I would trade any hits I got this year for that one right there for it to go through. I didn’t get the job done. We lost.”