Quest for 100 wins vanishes into thin air
Despite loss, Sox maintain one-game lead for home-field advantage
By Ian Browne / 9/25/2013 1:23 AM ET
DENVER -- The quest to win 100 games -- something no Red Sox team has done since 1946 -- disappeared into the thin air of Coors Field amid an 8-3 loss to the Rockies on Tuesday night at Coors Field.
But with four games left, the quest for the best record in the American League remains, as does the battle for postseason roles and roster spots.
The best development of the night for the Red Sox happened in Anaheim, where the A's took a 3-0 loss and stayed a game behind in the quest for home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
"I think it's real important," said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "You want to have home-field advantage. You want to start at home. It doesn't matter about who we play. It's more about playing at home and getting that chance to be there in our park where we've been playing so well."
Brandon Workman is one of the relievers who is trying to solidify his roster spot for the AL Division Series and also prove to manager John Farrell that he can be counted on in high-leverage situations.
The right-hander struggled Tuesday, giving up three hits, three runs and a walk over just one-third of an inning.
"I want to, obviously," Workman said of his quest to be part of the postseason plans. "It's not my call or anything like that obviously. It's something me along with everybody else wants to do. It's out of my hands. I just take care of throwing when they tell me to."
In an effort to help the rookie gain his second wind for the final push, Farrell rested Workman for a week before Tuesday's game. When Workman entered the game, the Red Sox were down, 4-1.
"It's the first time he's had an additional month [of baseball] throughout the course of his career," said Farrell. "Knowing the number of innings, high-stress innings, we want to buy him a little extra time. Like I said, he looked a little rusty out there tonight."
Workman didn't try to make excuses.
"Obviously my command wasn't very good at all tonight," Workman said. "It's something I can obviously work on and have it better for the next one. I wasn't as sharp as I needed to be tonight."
It was the third time in five outings Workman has been scored on. In that span, he has a 12.46 ERA.
But it wasn't that long ago he was one of Farrell's most dependable relievers. Workman feels like he's close to getting back to that form.
"Yeah, obviously it didn't reflect on how I threw the ball tonight, but I feel like I'm one little adjustment away from throwing the ball well again," Workman said.
John Lackey drew the start for the Sox and gave up six hits and four runs over six innings. The righty (10-13, 3.52 ERA) walked one, struck out five and gave up three solo homers.
"Not our best night from the mound," said Farrell. "I thought John made a couple of mistakes he had to pay for, particularly in a ballpark where you put the ball in the air, it's going to carry. The three home runs allowed were not common for him as strong as he's pitched for us all year. In that seventh inning, we let that game get away from us with the four-run inning."
It was a pretty forgettable night for the Red Sox. Perhaps the highlight was a brilliant stab by first baseman David Ortiz on a liner by Corey Dickerson.
Lackey's night got off to an ominous start as Charlie Blackmon led off the bottom of the first with a home run to right. With two outs, Michael Cuddyer hit a double to right. Todd Helton followed with an RBI single to left to make it 2-0.
"I felt fine," Lackey said. "Not quite as good as the last couple."
With two outs in the third, Troy Tulowitzki nailed a mammoth solo shot to center. Dickerson gave Colorado three solo shots in four innings in the fourth, putting Lackey in a 4-0 hole.
"I don't know if it's the air here or not, but he was leaving some balls up," said Dickerson. "His breaking stuff, he was leaving it a little up sometimes and a lot of guys got barrels on it. But overall, we swung the bats well."
Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood, making his second career start against Boston, dazzled in this one. Over the first six innings, he allowed just two hits, an infield single to Dustin Pedroia in the fourth and a single to right by Jackie Bradley Jr. in the fifth.
"You know, he wasn't afraid. He threw a lot of fastballs," said Saltalamacchia. "Mixed in that curveball/slider. Got a lot of weak contact from us. I don't think we got too many balls -- two or three -- out of the infield. He threw a good game. I felt like we came out a little more aggressive than usual. He was throwing strikes. You want to be aggressive and not miss too many pitches."
At last, the Red Sox rallied in the seventh. Will Middlebrooks started it with a two-out double off the wall in right. Bradley hit a grounder to first, and Chatwood dropped the feed from Helton. As Middlebrooks scored, Chatwood made a second error on the play, throwing the ball away and allowing Bradley to reach third. Bradley tried to get another run home on a wild pitch, but the ball took a generous carom and he was thrown out at the plate by catcher Jordan Pacheco. Bradley appeared to lose his footing as he slid home.
The Rockies then jumped on Boston's bullpen in the bottom of the seventh. Drake Britton gave up a double to Pacheco. On came Workman, and he gave up a single to Josh Rutledge and a walk to Blackmon, loading the bases. DJ LeMahieu drove home two with a single. The Rockies then executed a double steal against Workman, pushing runners to second and third. Cuddyer blooped in a two-run single and the rout was on.
Saltalamacchia belted a two-run homer in the ninth, but it was too little, too late.
A 100-win season would have been a nice thing to have for the Red Sox, but they have plenty to feel good about entering the final four games of the season.
"Yeah, obviously we can't mathematically do that," Saltalamacchia said. "But like I said, we need to focus on tomorrow and kind of forget about tonight and look at how we can get ourselves better and come back tomorrow."