Perhaps it was only fitting that just hours after Tom Brady threw a game-winning touchdown pass to beat the Saints with five seconds left, David Ortiz ripped a game-tying grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS at Fenway Park.
Just as Brady has created volumes of fourth-quarter comebacks to thrill the New England sports fan, Ortiz has come through time and again for his Red Sox, particularly in the month of October.
Consider the fact that all of these moments could be the signature hit of many players’ entire career. But for Ortiz, it all adds up to a best-of-list.
Game 4, 2003 ALDS – Hits a two-run double with two outs in bottom of the eighth against A’s closer Keith Foulke to put the Red Sox ahead and send the series to a deciding Game 5.
Game 3, 2004 ALDS – Two-run walkoff homer against Jarrod Washburn in the bottom of the 10th lifts the Red Sox to a sweep against the Angels.
Game 4, 2004 ALCS – Two-run walkoff homer against Paul Quantrill in the bottom of the 12th helps Sox crawl out of 3-0 series deficit against Yankees.
Game 5, 2004 ALCS – Ortiz rips a towering homer to left against Tom Gordon in the eighth, slicing NYY deficit to 4-3, and adds walkoff single to center in the 14th inning against Esteban Loaiza, sending the ALCS back to New York. Sox win in seven games.
Game 7, 2004 ALCS – Ortiz sets the tone with a two-out, two-run homer in the first, as the Sox become first team in history to comeback from 0-3 series deficit in postseason.
Game 5, 2008 ALCS – The Red Sox trailed the Rays, 7-0, with nine outs left in their season. But Ortiz’s three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh makes it a 7-4 game, and sets the stage for J.D. Drew’s walkoff hit in the ninth.
Game 2, 2013 ALCS – Ortiz’s two-out grand slam in the eighth ties a game the Sox trailed 5-0 against the Tigers and go on to win, 6-5.
Here at Fenway Park for the ALCS:
Everyone ready? Feels like two weeks ago that the Division Series ended.
For the first time since 2008, the Red Sox are playing in the ALCS. And for the first time since 2007 — and just the second time since 1986 — the ALCS opens at Fenway, with the Red Sox holding homefield advantage.
The first game is on Saturday. The time has not been announced. We won’t know the opponent until the conclusion of Thursday’s A’s-Tigers game in Oakland.
Which opponent are Red Sox fans rooting for? Both teams provide unique challenges.
The Red Sox went 3-3 against the A’s this season, but haven’t seen them since the All-Star break. There would be a lot of familiar faces at Fenway come Saturday if Oakland is the opponent.
Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss and Bartolo Colon all spent time with the Sox.
The Tigers have star power, with Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and even a start manager in Jim Leyland. Oh, and there would also be the reunion with Jose Iglesias, a fan favorite earlier this season for the Red Sox.
Coming off a day in which just about everything went right for the Red Sox, they will be back at it in a little bit here for Game 2.
The main lineup difference is that David Ross is catching instead of Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Ross is 2-for-5 lifetime against Price with two homers. Saltalamacchia is 1-for-14.
Interestingly, Stephen Drew stayed in the lineup despite an 0-for-10 mark lifetime against Price while exciting prospect Xander Bogaerts stayed on the bench.
Jon Lester really preserved the bullpen in Game 1. Only Junichi Tazawa and Ryan Dempster were used. All hands our on deck for tonight.
The crowd was a significant factor for the Red Sox in the first game. I’m not sure I’ve heard a Fenway crowd that revved up since Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS. And it actually felt a lot like 2003 and 2004.
Under cloudy skies, everyone at Fenway Park is getting ready for Game 1 of the Division Series against Matt Moore and the Rays.
Here is manager John Farrell’s lineup:
Ellsbury; Victorino; Pedroia; Ortiz; Napoli; Gomes; Salty; Drew; Middlebrooks … with Jon Lester starting.
No earth-shattering news in the pre-game hours. Felix Doubront made the final spot on the pitching staff over Matt Thornton.
Rays manager Joe Maddon had a great line, talking about how John Lackey helped pay for his daughter’s wedding in 2002. Lackey won Game 2 of the World Series that year for the Angels, the team Maddon was serving as bench coach for. Obviously Maddon’s postseason share increased greatly with the Angels winning the World Series,
Without Jacoby Ellsbury for a while, the Red Sox might be doing some improvising in the lineup.
There is a clear example of that tonight as Dustin Pedroia bats leadoff for the first time since 2009. In ’09, Pedroia was a .219 hitter in 25 games.
More on the lineup decision in a bit when we speak with manager John Farrell.
Xander Bogaerts had an arrival for the second week in a row. Last time, he showed up as a Major Leaguer when the Red Sox opened a six-game road trip through San Francisco and Los Angeles.
This time, he was able to put on his home whites for the first time.
The one thing you’ll notice about the highly-touted prospect is that he just about always has a smile on his face.
“I guess it’s something natural for me,” Bogaerts said.
And even if Bogaerts isn’t playing every day — he was not in Tuesday’s lineup — what’s not to love about being in the Majors in the middle of a pennant race?”Definitely a lot of difference compared to minors,” Bogaerts said. “I’m really enjoying every moment of it. Thankfully we won a few games so that maybe enough there. I’m just thankful to be here.”
Bogaerts had been to Fenway before Tuesday, but under different circumstances. “This is actually the third time I came here, but the first time I’ve been on the field for BP and stuff. The grass and dirt is pretty nice. Hopefully I get accustomed to the BP and stuff and have better BPs in a couple of days.”
What is it like taking BP with the inviting Monster just 310 feet away? “I didn’t try to think about it too much. I just tried to go right field normally, is what I like to do. Just try to be me and not try and press at all.”
Bogaerts smiled when asked the difference between playing at Fenway and his homeland of Aruba. “A lot of rocks in aruba and no rocks here. just clean and smooth. A big difference, especially with all the fans, hopefully I get to see all the fans tonight.”
One thing a Boston player always must deal with is a lot of media. Right now, that’s not bothering him. “A lot of reporters, man. that’s all I can say. I was pretty surprised. On the road, it wasn’t that much but you guys have a job to do so I’m here to help you guys.”
SAN FRANCISCO — Prior to the bottom of the seventh inning in Wednesday’s game against the Giants, Red Sox manager John Farrell raised two fingers to Will Middlebrooks. Poor Middlebrooks. He had no idea what his manager meant by the signal.
How could he? Middlebrooks had never played second base in his life. Not in LIttle League, not in high school, not in the Minors and certainly not n the Majors.
But with the latest roster shuffle leaving the Red Sox without a backup second baseman, Middlebrooks has now inherited that role. Farrell decided to give him a trial by fire in Wednesday’s game with the Red Sox holding a double-digit lead.
Middlebrooks did not disappoint, turning the middle of a 6-4-3 double play in the bottom of the seventh.
On the same day Middlebrooks hit a two-run homer earlier in the game, he had no problem identifying his highlight of the game.
“Probably turning the DP,: Middlebrooks said. “That was a lot of fun. That was out of nowhere, I wasn’t expecting it, that was a lot of fun.”
Farrell took a leap of faith thinking Middlebrooks could be comfortable at second just by judging how he looked when the Red Sox overshift on left-handed batters. That doesn’t mean Middlebrooks has had much time to work on second base since his return to Boston a couple of weeks ago.
“Not much. I haven’t worked on it. I haven’t turned a play up the middle since I was 18 in Texarkana, Texas, so it’s been awhile.’’
It was a funny moment when Farrell told Middlebrooks he was switching from third to second late in the game.
“I thought I misunderstood him,” Middlebrooks said. “He looked at me and [held up two fingers]. I had just grounded out. He gave me ‘this’ and I didn’t know what he was talking about. I had to run up and get a different glove. I have a smaller one.”
Middlerooks agrees with Farrell’s reasoning that the shift coverage helped him prepare a little for the unfamiliar responsibility.
“Yeah, absolutely, that way I can at least see the angle of the balls and how the ball comes off the bat. It really wasn’t that big of a difference, it wasn’t a big deal,” said Middlebrooks.
So Middlebrooks really never played second before Wednesday?
“No, never, never, never. Shortstop my whole life then I played third my first year in pro ball.,” Middlebrooks said.
Fortunately for the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia doesn’t require much time off. Middlebrooks will be the insurance option at second until Sept. 1, when rosters are expanded. With the Red Sox having multiple off-days before then, Pedroia probably won’t need to come out of the starting lineup, barring an injury.
And the way Middlebrooks has been swinging the bat, the Red Sox want to keep him right where he is — at the hot corner.
Xander Bogaerts, projected by many to be the next homegrown star for the Boston Red Sox, will make his debut Tuesday night in San Francisco, starting at shortstop and batting seventh.
David Ortiz, who started at first Monday night, will take the night off in preparation for Wednesday’s day game. Mike Carp got the start at first with Mike Napoli apparently still experiencing soreness from his left foot injury. David Ross, coming off his second concussion, will start at catcher, marking his first game action since June 14.
Clay Buchholz took another significant step toward his return when he threw a simulated game earlier today in San Francisco.
It was just a few days ago that Mike Napoli was dropped from fifth to sixth in manager John Farrell’s lineup. With his slump showing no signs of lifting, Napoli moved down again for Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays — this time to the No. 7 hole for the first time this season.
Napoli has just five hits in 37 at-bats in August, with no homers and three RBIs.
For the season, he has 158 strikeouts in 460 plate appearances.
The news of Napoli’s move down in the batting order was announced by Farrell in his weekly radio segment with WEEI on Wednesday.