The Cleveland Indians are going to the American League Championship Series and David Ortiz's career is over.
Monday night at Fenway Park, the Indians beat the Boston Red Sox (CLE 4, BOS 3) in Game 3 to clinch a sweep of the ALDS. They'll face the Toronto Blue Jays when the ALCS begins Friday in Cleveland.
Ortiz, who is planning to retire after the season, went 0 for 1 with two walks and a sac fly in Game 3. Here are eight more things to know about Game 3 and Ortiz's career.
1. The bottom of the order did major damage for the Indians
Coming into the ALDS, the Red Sox looked at Cleveland's lineup and said "we can't let Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, and Mike Napoli" beat us. I'm guessing they said that, anyway. The other team's best hitters are always the guys you want to keep in check, especially in the postseason.
Kipnis, Lindor, and Napoli did not beat the Red Sox in Game 3 on Monday. It was the bottom of the lineup. No. 7 hitter Tyler Naquin drove in two runs with a single in the fourth inning, then Coco Crisp plated two more runs in the sixth inning with a long home run over the Green Monster. Crisp also laid down a perfect bunt to move the runners up ahead of Naquin's two-run single.
Bottom third of CLE order in this series: 7-for-24 with two HRs, eight runs scored and seven RBI— Sean McAdam (@Sean_McAdam) October 10, 2016
Those stats don't count Crisp's homer, so it's actually three home runs and nine runs driven in now. In three games! From the bottom of the lineup! Unexpected contributions like that -- no one was expecting No. 9 hitter Roberto Perez to hit an opposite field homer in Game 1 -- are often the difference in short postseason series like this one.
2. The Red Sox were too passive against Tomlin
Few pitchers in baseball throw as many strikes as Indians righty Josh Tomlin. He led baseball with a 1.0 BB/9 during the regular season, and it was no fluke. Tomlin had a 1.1 BB/9 last year and a 1.2 BB/9 the year before that. The man will not beat himself with walks. To wit:
Josh Tomlin walked David Ortiz to start the second inning. Tomlin had not walked the previous 127 batters he had faced.— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) October 10, 2016
Tomlin has only made it to a 3-ball count once tonight. He had the lowest percentage of them through the regular season. #Indianspic.twitter.com/9fGyDgucKy— Inside Edge (@InsideEdgeScout) October 10, 2016
For whatever reason, the Red Sox were willing to let Tomlin pour pitches into the zone and get ahead in the count all night. Here are the first four innings:
Taken strikes by the Red Sox pic.twitter.com/5X4GnMmHGm— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) October 10, 2016
Tomlin doesn't throw very hard. PitchFX says he topped out at 91.3 mph in Game 3. The entire point of working the count is to get a hittable pitch, not work a walk, and the BoSox let way too many hittable pitches go by Monday night. They weren't in attack mode against a pitcher who lives in the zone with an average at best heater.
3. Francona was aggressive with Miller again
No, he didn't bring him in with two outs in the fifth inning again, but Indians manager Terry Francona was again very aggressive with relief ace Andrew Miller. He had already started his warmup routine in the third inning:
Red Sox have one hit and Andrew Miller is stretching in the bullpen. Short leash much? pic.twitter.com/8ZWF6jjPLp— Shaun Wyman (@ShaunWyman) October 10, 2016
Francona brought Miller into the game in the same spot as Game 1: to face the 2-3-4 hitters when he starter was about to go through the lineup a third time. In this case that was with a runner on first and no outs in the sixth. In Game 1, it happened with two outs in the fifth.
Miller allowed a run to score in that sixth inning -- David Ortiz got the run home with a sac fly following a Dustin Pedroia single and a Mookie Betts double -- but otherwise he tossed two innings to preserve the lead. I absolutely love how Francona used Miller this series. He used him against the middle of the Red Sox's lineup in the middle of the game, before it got out of hand. Great work.
4. Boston's offense was terrible in the ALDS
During the regular season the Red Sox led baseball in runs (878), batting average (.282), on-base percentage (.348), and slugging percentage (.461). That powerhouse offense is the primary reason they won the AL East, after all. It was the reason many considered them ALDS favorites.
Rather than carry the Red Sox against the Indians, that offense let the Red Sox down in a big way in the ALDS. They scored four runs in Game 1, none in Game 2, and three in Game 3. Look at some of these performances:
- Dustin Pedroia: 2 for 12 (.167)
- David Ortiz: 1 for 9 (.111)
- Hanley Ramirez: 3 for 12 (.250)
- Jackie Bradley Jr.: 1 for 10 (.100)
Two of those guys were All-Stars (Ortiz, Bradley) this year and the other could have been. That's a lot of empty at-bats. It's no secret why Boston went 14 innings between runs at one point in the series.
To be fair, the Red Sox seemed to hit an inordinate number of line drives right at defenders in Game 3:
Per @statcast, the game's three hardest hit balls came in that half inning: Ramirez (114.6), Betts (112.5), Shaw (108.7). One run. Unlucky.— Ben Reiter (@BenReiter) October 11, 2016
Xander Bogaerts lined out to second with the trying run at second to end the eighth inning, for example. That's baseball though. Sometimes you hit line drives into the gap, and something you hit line drives at fielders.. Overall, the offense was big liability in the ALDS, which is the exact opposite of what it was during the regular season.
5. Boston's starters were terrible too
Let's be clear: the Red Sox were swept because their offense no-showed. The best offense in baseball during the regular season was held to seven runs in three ALDS games. This was a well-earned series loss.
Now, that said, the pitching staff didn't hold up their end of the bargain either. The starting pitchers were not effective at all.
That's all for Buchholz. Pomeranz on for the fifth. Boston starters have lasted 4 1/3, 3 1/3 and 4 IP so far in series.— Erik Boland (@eboland11) October 10, 2016
Clay Buchholz allowed two runs on six hits and one walk in his four innings in Game 3. All told, the Red Sox's three starting pitchers allowed 12 runs and 21 baserunners in 11 2/3 innings. Yikes. I'm not saying they all need to throw eight shutout innings, but some something resembling competence would have helped.
6. The Red Sox finished the season in a rut
Despite winning 93 games during the regular season, the Red Sox finished in a big slump, losing seven of their last eight games. That carried over into the ALDS.
ALDS is 21 innings old. #RedSox led at the end of the first inning, haven't led after any others. 0-0 through three here.— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) October 10, 2016
The Red Sox took the lead in the first inning of Game 1, gave up almost immediately, and never led again. Timing is everything in this game. The Red Sox went ice cold at exactly the wrong time.
7. Fenway Park was packed
Postseason game? Possibly the final game of Ortiz's career? You bet Red Sox nation packed the ballpark Monday night:
lost in the shuffle...the crowd of 39,530 is the largest at Fenway for a game of any sort since at least 1945— Bill Ballou (@BillBallouTG) October 11, 2016
Those 39,530 fans saw an awfully exciting game. Too bad it didn't work out for the home team.
8. Big Papi's career is over
#ThanksPapipic.twitter.com/LfWyQKfQOk— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) October 11, 2016
It did not end the way the Red Sox hoped, but David Ortiz's career is now over. Back in spring training he announced he will retire after the season, and now that time has come. Up next are jersey retirements and Hall of Fame debates. Ortiz was arguably the greatest DH in history and inarguably one of the most important players of the last two decades.