BOSTON – Anyone expecting magic at Fenway Park almost got it.

But it was the same vanishing act for the offense.

This is the Boston team that averaged almost 51/2 runs a game and almost six runs a game at home.

In the playoffs Boston totaled seven runs in three games, including three Monday night in a 4-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians that eliminated the Red Sox.

“Given how we performed as an offensive team throughout the year …” Manager John Farrell said, searching for an explanation.

“And it’s not to take anything away from their pitching, but I think there was no more than one run we were able to score in any one inning. The inability to string some hits together, generate the bigger inning, that wasn’t there.”


When Coco Crisp swatted a Drew Pomeranz hanging curveball over the Green Monster in the sixth inning, the Cleveland Indians led 4-1.

Only three runs down but you sensed these Red Sox were done.

To their credit, the Red Sox rallied. But it wasn’t enough.

“It’s not the way you want to end the season,” said Travis Shaw, who had a pinch-hit single in the eighth but made the last out of the game, flying to right.

“There was so much promise going into this postseason. I thought we were on a pretty good roll.”

The team looked hot most of September, even going on an 11-game winning streak.


But after the streak the Red Sox played nine more games, losing eight of them.

In Game 1 of this series, the young Red Sox looked over-anxious, swinging at plenty of balls out of the strike zone. The team promised to loosen up.

But in Game 3 against a strike-thrower like Josh Tomlin, Boston was taking pitch after pitch, usually for strikes.

“It goes back to some of the offensive inconsistencies throughout this series,” Farrell said.

Boston was supposed to bash at Fenway but presto, the bats disappeared. Visiting manager Terry Francona, who has spent some time in this quaint ballpark, seemed to expect more.

Asked before the game if he would pitch around David Ortiz, Francona presented the challenges.


“I’m aware what (Ortiz) can do,” Francona said. “I’m also aware of what Hanley, Betts, Bogaerts can do, also. I think what they’ve done so well … they’ve surrounded (Ortiz) with such potent bats.”

Ortiz came up one last time, in the eighth inning with one runner on and two outs.

Ortiz represented the tying run and Francona called on his closer, Cody Allen.

Allen wanted nothing to do with any Ortiz heroics, walking him on four pitches.

What could Ortiz do? He jogged to first, and turned to the crowd and began clapping and waving his arms.

Fenway’s greatest cheerleader.


With the crowd responding with plenty of noise, Hanley Ramirez singled in a run. Ortiz reached second base. Marco Hernandez ran out to pinch run. Ortiz ran off the Fenway turf for the last time.

Xander Bogaerts ended the inning by lining out.

After the game as the Red Sox entered the dugout, the Fenway crowd chanted “Thank you Papi.” Eventually, Ortiz came back out, walking to the mound, tipping his cap to the crowd, pounding his heart, tears in his eyes.

“When I went out to the mound, I realized it was the last time,” Ortiz said. “I realized it was over.”

Over for Ortiz and for these 2016 Red Sox.

Farrell was asked if he was coming back, and about this season.

“I’ve not thought anything beyond today’s game,” he said. “Given where this team finished last year, there’s a lot for them to be proud of.

“We’re AL East champions and I know that doesn’t mean much sitting right now. But there’s been sizable progress.”


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