Roche: Lessons Learned For Young Red Sox

CLEVELAND (CBS) – The good news is that it’s only one game. It wasn’t a play-in game like we witnessed Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

The Red Sox dropped Game One of the ALDS to the Indians 5-4 in Cleveland Wednesday night. They battled hard and showed the resilience and spirit that carried them to 93 regular season wins and the AL East title.

They also have David Price on the mound in Game Two Friday afternoon which gives them a chance to tie things up at 1-1 heading back to Boston.

There were three Sox home runs – Brock Holt, Sandy Leon, Andrew Benintendi. Good to see.

All good.

The bad?

The loss hurts because the Sox made too many mistakes. If they were avoided, it could have been a different story.

Read: Hurley: Porcello Falls Short Of Cy Young Standard

But first, much of the blame goes to Rick Porcello. The 22-game winner picked the wrong time to have his shortest outing of the season – 4-1/3 innings, 5 runs, including 3 home runs in the third inning. He left a lot of pitches up. Tough night.

Rick Porcello (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Rick Porcello (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Sox hitters also were way too aggressive at times swinging at bad pitches in the dirt. We haven’t seen much of that from this offensive machine. Maybe just too hyped up.

As for the little things, let’s take a look:

  • A couple of errant throws by Jackie Bradley, Jr. Maybe just a little too hyped as he tried to nail runners at the plate in the third and fifth innings. Just need to calm down a bit, take something off, and make accurate throws.
  • Fifth inning with the Sox having cut the Indians lead to 4-3 thanks to a Sandy Leon home run, with nobody out and catcher Roberto Perez on first, Carlos Santana flies out to left. Rookie Andrew Benintendi is a little too casual in getting the ball in after the catch and Perez tags up and takes second base. Jason Kipnis brings Perez home with an RBI single. You can’t let that happen in a postseason game. Too much at stake. Benintendi will never make that mistake again.
  • Eighth inning, 5-4 Cleveland lead, with one out, David Ortiz beats out a double to right-center field. Marco Hernandez pinch runs for David. Closer Cody Allen bounces one in the dirt to Hanley Ramirez. Hernandez hesitates as the ball jumps in front of catcher Roberto Perez and stays put. It may have been a close call, but Hernandez hesitated and seemed indecisive. Afterward you could see on TV Ortiz talking to Hernandez, basically make up your mind one way or the other, as in, if you think you have a shot then go – aggressively.

These are just a few “little things” that can prevent a team from nailing down a win. When the Sox had a lot of veterans in 2013 they capitalized on other teams’ mistakes. That’s how you win games and series.

We forget just how young and inexperienced these talented, young Red Sox players are. They are raw. They will learn and improve.

It has to be quick though because this is only a best-of-five series.

More mistakes and they will add up to an early exit from the playoffs.

More from Dan Roche

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