Blog Entry

Beltre, Martinez show Red Sox what they lost

Posted on: October 11, 2011 11:59 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 1:40 am

By Evan Brunell

DETROIT -- Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez, dueling against each other in the ALCS, were teammates on the Red Sox last season and helped foster a healthy clubhouse with their leadership, which the Rangers and Tigers, respectively, have raved about. On Tuesday night, each displayed just what might have been missing on the Red Sox this season.

Beltre came to the plate with one out in the fourth inning and took a massive hack against Doug Fister, fouling a ball off his left knee. He collapsed to the ground, and just like Nelson Cruz's hit-by-pitch off the wrist in Game 2, sent fear in the heart of Ranger Nation. Given Beltre's reaction, it would have been completely understandable for him to bail out of the game. But the third-baseman was having none of it, holding off the trainer and continuing the at-bat, despite clearly being hampered by the injury. He grounded out, hobbling to first base all the while. (X-rays following the game were negative.) Certainly, in the regular season with nothing on the line, Beltre likely would have been taken out -- but this is October, after all, and Beltre's never been a player that lets injuries stand in his way. This is a man who once fractured his testicle, for crying out loud ... and kept playing.

So no, Beltre wasn't coming out.

Then, in the bottom fourth, it was his ex-teammate's turn to show some fortitude. Martinez stepped to the plate with the Tigers down 1-0 and the crowd increasingly demoralized... and rocketed a home run to left field. Bedlam from the crowd, but Martinez instantly grimaced and stumbled toward the ground before gingerly running around the bases. This was a huge homer for Detroit, and all that happened was a casual fist-bump by Don Kelly in the on-deck circle, and then a somber reception in the dugout without the usual high-fives. Martinez immediately slammed his helmet before disappearing into the clubhouse tunnel, and it looked as if V-Mart may have fallen victim to an intercostal muscle strain.

Fast-forward to the bottom of the fifth. Miguel Cabrera at the plate with runners in scoring position, a situation the Tigers have struggled through all postseason. The TV cameras showed Martinez speaking to Leyland in the dugout, clearly not right. However, he headed to the on-deck circle with many theorizing that this was a fake-out to make the Rangers think V-Mart was going to hit and perhaps make an incorrect pitching coach before Martinez was pinch-hit for. That feeling was only furthered more when he didn't take any swings and watched Miggy blast a RBI double. And yet, Martinez stayed in the game. ('s Danny Knobler says Martinez is expected to play in Game 4 as well... surprise, surprise.) He didn't swing once in the at-bat, but worked a walk. You could tell that there was absolutely no way that Martinez was coming out of the game. This is a man who told reporters on Sept. 28 after injuring his big toe, "You're going to have to kill me to keep me out of the lineup." And after Game 3? "I will play tomorrow unless I am dead when I wake up."

So no, Martinez wasn't coming out.

On a night where the Red Sox's epic collapse may have claimed it's biggest victim yet in GM Theo Epstein, two players he allowed to leave in free agency showed on baseball's brightest stage the perseverance strangely lacking in Boston this season. And perhaps that's why the Red Sox are sitting at home with Red Sox Nation crumbling.

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Since: Jul 22, 2007
Posted on: October 12, 2011 1:41 am

Beltre, Martinez show Red Sox what they lost

Beltre has had a good postseason I'll give him that but he was his usual injured self throughout the season.
He'll underperform for Texas until he hits his contract year then suddenyl find his stroke again.
He did it to the Dodgers, he did it to the Mariners, he HAD to play his butt off with the Red Sox because he was only on a one year deal, there was no cushion for him to sit back and cruise until it came time for another contract year.
I was ok with losing Beltre, The Red Sox had Youkilis playing third and nobody is going to sit there and say they would rather have Beltre up at bat in a big spot than Youkilis, sure Beltre better defensively but I'd still take Youkilis over him any day of the week.
Now V-Mart, he's a good hitter, terrible catcher, a liability behind the plate but a positive AT the plate, if the Sox hadn't traded for Gonzo than I would have wanted him back but they did trade for Gonzo and again I would rather have Gonzo than VMart.
If Ortiz had been let go or if his contract expired last season I would say, keep VMart, let Ortiz walk but that didn't happen.
The guy that REALLY could hvae made a BIG difference for the Sox is Doug Fister, the Mariners knew what they had, asked for a ton to get him which the Tigers gave up and he went 8-1 for them with a sub 2 close to 1 ERA, THAT is the guy on a post season roster that would have made the difference for the Sox.
Even if he only went 4-4 or even went 4-5 the Sox would have been in the playoffs and he would have solidified that rotation.
I watched him pitch all year here in Seattle and every game he's give up maybe 1-2 runs, at most 3 and would always lose games 2-1, 3-0, 3-1, he had NO run support but that all changed when he got to a team with veteran hitters who would give him run support just like the Sox would have.
One last thing, both Beltre & VMart were NOT "clubhouse leaders" when they were with the Sox and it's all come out that the downfall of the Red Sox this season was a toxic clubhouse which they would NOT have been able to change so even if they still played for the Sox without that shot in the arm in the pitching staff the Sox would still be sitting at home right now and so would Beltre & Martinez

Since: May 8, 2007
Posted on: October 12, 2011 12:38 am

Beltre, Martinez show Red Sox what they lost

Just a fantastic article. Well done.

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