Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 10/17/13
The ALCS has become a best-of-three series. The first team to win two more games is going to the World Series. The Tigers struck for five runs in the second inning en route to a 7-3 victory over the Red Sox in Game 4 of the ALCS on Wednesday. Boston and Detroit will square off one more time at Comerica Park on Thursday before returning to Fenway Park to close out the series. The Tigers were able to even up the series Wednesday because Jake Peavy struggled mightily with his control in the second inning. Peavy issued three walks in the frame, and a missed opportunity to turn a double play came back to haunt the Red Sox. There certainly isn’t any room for moral victories this time of year, as every game, every inning, every out and every pitch is of the utmost importance. However, the Red Sox can at least take solace in the fact that two of the next three games will take place at the friendly confines of Fenway. There are a few other silver linings to come from Wednesday’s loss, and those, among other things, will be addressed below. Jon Lester and Anibal Sanchez will square off in Game 5. The two went head-to-head in Game 1, and Sanchez blanked the Red Sox over six no-hit innings. The Tigers eventually staved off a ninth-inning threat to win the game 1-0 — the first of two 1-0 games in this series. Thursday’s matchup should be a good one, and whichever team earns the victory will really have the upper hand in this series. Let’s unload the Game 4 notebook before shifting our focus to Game 5. Jake Peavy shouldered the blame for the Red Sox’ Game 4 loss. “No excuses,” Peavy said. “It’s on me. I can promise you we’ll be back tomorrow as a ballclub, ready to go.” Peavy gave up seven earned runs on five hits and three walks in three innings of work. Everything unraveled for Peavy in the second inning. The first three hitters reached to load the bases. Victor Martinez singled, and Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila both walked. Austin Jackson then walked on four pitches with one out to give Detroit its first run of the game. The Red Sox failed to turn a double play on a ground ball by Jose Iglesias in the second inning, and it cost them. The Tigers scored their second run on the play, and then added three more runs via a Torii Hunter double and a Miguel Cabrera single. “I just couldn’t make the big pitch to minimize the damage,” Peavy said. “Innings with that ballclub — as we all saw in Game 2 — can get out of hand at any moment. It certainly did there in the second.” The Red Sox could have been out of the inning on Iglesias’ ground ball to second base, but Dustin Pedroia failed to handle it. Boston needed to settle for a forceout at second base, as Stephen Drew had no shot at throwing out Iglesias at first base following Pedroia’s bobble. “I’ve got to make that play,” Pedroia said. “It’s a double-play ball. We could have limited the damage. I didn’t field it clean and get us out of it.” Peavy defended his teammate after the game. “There’s nobody in the world I’d want the ball hit to more in that situation than him,” Peavy said. “You can put me out there with just Dustin Pedroia behind me as the lone defender, and we’ll go to war.” Peavy, who threw just 65 pitches in Game 4, will likely be available out of the bullpen in Games 6 and 7. “The way my pitch count was tonight, I could pitch tomorrow if need be,” Peavy said. The Tigers more than doubled their run total for the entire series in the first four innings of Game 4. The Tigers, who scored six runs in the first three games, scored five runs in the second inning and two runs in the fourth inning. That was more than enough to earn a win. “Seven runs feels like 20 in a postseason atmosphere,” Peavy said. The Red Sox were 1-for-47 before the fifth inning in the first three games of the series. Pedroia gave the Sox their first hit of Game 4 with two outs in the first inning. The Red Sox’ offense failed to cash in on its scoring chances. Boston collected 12 hits, but finished 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base. For what it’s worth, David Ortiz and Stephen Drew combined to end six of the nine innings. Jacoby Ellsbury’s performance was one of the few bright spots for the Red Sox. He had four hits, including an RBI triple in the ninth inning. Ellsbury now has five career postseason games with at least three hits. He passed David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis for the most three-hit playoff games in team history. Ellsbury’s RBI triple plated Xander Bogaerts, who doubled to lead off the ninth. Bogaerts entered the game at third base after Mike Carp pinch hit for Will Middlebrooks in the sixth inning. Bogaerts’ double was his first career postseason hit. At 21 years old, Bogaerts became the youngest player in Red Sox history to get a hit in the playoffs. Reggie Smith, Everett Scott, and Smoky Joe Wood were all 22. Drew is hitting .107 (3-for-28) this postseason, including 1-for-13 in the ALCS. Middlebrooks is hitting .174 (4-for-23), including 1-for-10 in the ALCS. John Farrell said that he will consider starting Bogaerts in Game 5. The Red Sox’ bullpen offered up another bright spot for Boston. The combination of Brandon Workman, Ryan Dempster, Franklin Morales and Felix Doubront wasn’t charged with a run in five innings of work. The Red Sox’ bullpen hasn’t given up a run in 16 2/3 consecutive innings. The ‘pen owns a 0.74 ERA this postseason. The Red Sox’ “Big Three” of Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow should be well-rested for Thursday’s Game 5. None of the three pitched in Game 4. There was an interesting sequence in the eighth inning when Jose Iglesias singled into right field. Shane Victorino occasionally attempts to throw out runners at first base when the ball is hit hard enough to right field. That’s exactly what he attempted to do to Iglesias, but Victorino was unsuccessful. Iglesias then gave Victorino a hand gesture, which created some question as to whether the Tigers shortstop was joking or serious. Iglesias made it clear after the game that he wasn’t upset with Victorino’s attempted throw to first. “No, it’s Shane. He’s an unbelievable teammate,” Iglesias said. “I’m just, you know, he’s an amazing right fielder. He tried to make a play for the team. That’s awesome.” Victorino didn’t comment on the situation. David Ross will catch Jon Lester in Game 5. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here. Filed under: Boston Red Sox, Ricky Doyle, Top Stories
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