Rick Porcello led Major League Baseball with 22 wins this season, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell from game one of the the American League Division Series on Thursday night.
The Red Sox were able to strike first when Dustin Pedroia led off the game with a double and was later driven in on a double by Hanley Ramirez to take 1-0 lead.
After striking out the side in the first, Porcello allowed a lead-off double to Jose Ramirez in the bottom of the second followed by an RBI single by Lonnie Chisenhall to tie the game 1-1. Chisenhall was then thrown out trying to advance to second after Jackie Bradley Jr.’s throw home. Porcello eventually got out of the inning without allowing another run.
The Sox immediately took back the lead in the top of the third on a solo shot by Andrew Benintendi, his first career postseason dinger.
The bottom of the third might have been the worst inning of Rick Porcello’s season as the Cy Young candidate gave up three home runs. One to Roberto Perez, one to Jason Kipnis, and one to Francisco Lindor. Fortunately they were all solo shots so the Sox were still in the game, facing a 4-2 deficit.
Sandy Leon, who’s been missing since late August, finally made an appearance in the top of the fifth when he cut the lead to 4-3 with a solo homer of his own:
In the bottom of the inning, the Indians extended the lead back to two runs with an RBI single by Jason Kipnis off Drew Pomeranz to make it 5-3.
In the sixth and seventh innings, the Red Sox were unable to figure out Andrew Miller. The 6’7″ lefty pitched two innings, allowing just one hit and striking out four.
Despite giving up the run in the fifth (which wasn’t earned), Pomeranz was solid in the sixth and seventh for the Boston. He struck out five in two and a third, allowing zero earned runs. With two outs in the seventh, John Farrell called on Joe Kelly to face Mike Napoli and Kelly struck out Nap to end the inning.
Some were surprised to see Brock Holt in the starting lineup at the start of this game. Those same people didn’t have much to say when Brock produced three hits, including a solo homer in the eighth to cut the deficit back to one:
Unfortunately that was the last time the Red Sox would score. Cody Allen shut them down in the ninth as they fell to the Indians 5-4.
This game was disappointing simply because of the performance of Rick Porcello. Watching your “number one starter” surrender three bombs is no way to start the postseason.
I said before the series that the Sox would be in good shape if they could split the first two in Cleveland. Now we rely on David Price, who was supposed to be our ace, to hopefully reverse his historically mediocre playoff track record.
Follow Jack Bardsley on Twitter @BostonsBigFour