BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox' season-ending 4-3 loss to Cleveland Monday night, which finished off a 3-0 Indians sweep in the ALDS:
Clay Buchholz wasn't the main culprit
Buchholz only lasted four innings in Game 3, but that was due to the urgency of the game. On another night, he would have been allowed to continue after allowing two runs over the first four innings. But given the stakes, the Red Sox couldn't want much longer and had to utilize a quick hook.
Buchholz wasn't dominant -- he had baserunners in each of his innings. But he successfully limited the damage through the first three, stranding four baserunners along the way.
In the fourth, however, a one-out, two-run single to Tyler Naquin gave the Indians a 2-0 lead.
But Buchholz kept the Sox in the game far better than either Rick Porcello or David Price did before him.
The Red Sox allowed the bottom third of the order to beat them
At the start of the series, the Sox were probably most concerned with shutting down Francisco Lindor or Carlos Santana or Mike Napoli.
Instead, they were defeated by the likes of Roberto Perez, Coco Crisp and Lonnie Chisenhall.
The final three spots in the Cleveland lineup did plenty of damage in the sweep. On Monday night, Naquin, the No. 8 hitter, delivered a two-run single and Crisp added a two-run homer.
In all, the final three spots in the Cleveland lineup produced three homers and nine RBI in the three-game sweep.
It's one thing to be beaten by the best the opponent has to offer. It's quite another to allow the lesser hitters to do as much damage as the Indians' bottom third did.
Boston played from behind almost the entire series
Over the course of three games and 27 innings, the Red Sox led at the end of a full inning exactly once: The end of the first inning of Game 1,, when they were ahead 1-0.
From there on out, the Sox were tied or behind.
That's not a winning approach in the postseason. The Sox offense couldn't put and pressure on the Indians. They couldn't force the issue on the bases, because they were always playing catch-up.
They couldn't set up their bullpen for advantageous matchups or be aggressive or dictate anything in the series. They were too busy scrambling from behind.