By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Besides the loss to the Yankees, the Red Sox’ American League East championship celebration overshadowed a lot of things Wednesday night. Among the good things were Clay Buchholz’s best outing of the season and the team’s offensive rally in the top of the eighth inning.
The bad news? Closer Craig Kimbrel had one of his worst outings in a Red Sox uniform.
Entering for a clean ninth inning with a 3-0 lead, Kimbrel allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner before walking Jacoby Ellsbury, Gary Sanchez, and Brian McCann all in a row to force in a run. Joe Kelly had to come in and relieve Kimbrel, recording two outs before allowing a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.
It was just the third outing of Kimbrel’s career in which he failed to record an out. The other two times came earlier this season with the Red Sox, July 5 against the Texas Rangers and Sept. 4 against the Oakland Athletics. His ERA ballooned from 2.65 to 3.35 after the loss Wednesday night.
Like any good closer should do, Kimbrel is ready to put the disappointing outing behind him and look toward the postseason.
“As John [Farrell] told me, we’re not going to let one game get in the way of what we did this year,” Kimbrel told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “Like I said, it’s personally frustrating because you never want to do that, especially in this scenario where Clay and the bullpen did a great job ahead of me. And then for me to come in and do that, it’s rough. But we clinched, we’re going to the playoffs, we won the division, and we’re excited by that. I would have loved to close it out and have us win the game. I wanted that more than anything.”
Both of the Red Sox’ prized offseason additions, Kimbrel and starter David Price, will need to turn things around from their latest outings for the Red Sox to advance to the World Series and have a chance to win the championship. Kimbrel has certainly had some strong runs in his first season in a Red Sox uniform, but has also had some curiously bad outings.
Hate to rain on the parade, but Kimbrel was one of the few bad spots of an otherwise good night for the AL East champions. He will need to be far better than he was Wednesday night for the Red Sox to succeed in October.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.