Let’s review what the Red Sox learned during the ALDS Game 3 loss to Tampa at the Trop.
The team does a heck of a lot better at home. Why? Because Fenway Park is a real baseball field, with real grass, and much better lighting. It does not have catwalks, and a dome built for a football or hockey arena. Balls should not bounce off obstructions in the air, over the playing field. The only obstructions should be in foul territory. Those obstructions cause teams to lose.
Clay Buchholz froze up, got too far inside his head in the latter part of the fourth, and then definitely in the fifth inning. TBS cameras showed a shot of him in the dugout while the Red Sox were batting. You could see that he was in head. Then when he went back out for the fifth he just seemed to be throwing more sliders and curves in the high 80 MPH range. Clay lost confidence in his pitch selection. He can’t let that happen. Buchholz is far too good a natural talent to be so hard on his ability to perform.
Again, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew are just not producing. Napoli is still looking to hit balls as hard as humanly possible. Just make good contact like Jacoby Ellsbury. People are all over Ellsbury and his bloopers. He’s making contact and moving people around the bases, this was especially the case in the early innings. Drew just needs to start his swing sooner. I don’t know what to do with this guy. He’s been defensively solid, but he was even off there last night. The middle of the lineup worries me.
Our middle reliever situation needs some switching up. You cannot put Craig Breslow in when the game is tight and the team is behind the eight ball like they were last night. I am not sure if Ryan Dempster is available, but I would like to see if he could provide support in the middle reliever role. He’s always been good for a couple of innings. I also believe Koji Uehara could go for two innings, and I know other fans agree with me here. Uehara should pitch in the eighth and the ninth. It may have helped him physically last night. What happened with Koji last night was unfortunate.
Finally, the fans learned do not touch the sting rays in the outfield tank. This is verboten.