CLEVELAND -- In the final week of the regular season, the Red Sox bats looked tired -- and the results showed.
Over their last seven games, they scored just 21 runs. Twice, they were limited to a single run; only twice did they score more than three.
The start of the playoffs, though, was supposed to see the Red Sox offense -- the one which led the majors in runs scored and several other categories -- awaken again.
Not Thursday night.
The Sox did power three homers -- all solo and all from unlikely sources -- but they also struck out 14 times and were just 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position in their 5-4 loss to the Indians in Game 1 of the ALDS.
The trio of Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. combined to go 1-for-11 with seven strikeouts.
"We expanded the strike zone,'' admitted John Farrell, "below the strike zone with hard biting breaking balls.''
Indeed, if a pattern emerged from the four Cleveland pitchers, it was an approach that saw them throw fastballs up and breaking pitches in the bottom of the zone.
Whatever they did, it worked.
"Credit where it's due,'' said Farrell. "They threw very good stuff. Their best guys came at us with power fastballs and very sharp finishing-type breaking balls. They expanded the strike zone and we offered.''
Of the 11 outs recorded by lefty Andrew Miller and closer Cody Allen, eight were by strikeout.
"Nothing we can do about it now,'' said Hanley Ramirez, who smoked two doubles in his first two trips, but was hitless in his final two plate appearances. "A couple days off can affect your timing. We've just got to come back and have a better game.''