Curt Schilling: Not sure what I just got done watching really happened. Most amazing, incredible, frustrating and crushing 2 hours of baseball ever.
Red Sox GM Theo Epstein: Can’t sugarcoat this. This is awful.
Orioles second baseman Robert Andino, after his game-winning hit: End of season like this, [to] make Boston go home sad, crying, I’ll take it all day.
Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (a DNP tonight): It’s like getting punched in the nuts, basically. We busted our asses all year. It sucks to have it right there in our grasp.
Dan Barbarisi, Yankees beat reporter for the Wall Street Journal: One Yankee player watching Papelbon blow the game said the Yankee clubhouse “Celebrated like WE just clinched” when the O’s won
Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz: 2003 loss to Yankees “not even close” to as bad as this year. “This is worse. Not even close.”
SI.com’s Jon Heyman: give joe girardi credit. he sorta appeared to be trying to win. of course, as Russell Martin said, they hate boston.
Former big-league pitcher C.J. Nitkowski: In the warped mind of a true die hard Yankee fan potentially losing to the Rays in the ALCS is worth Sox not making playoffs at all.
Rays double agent Carl Crawford: This is a devastating blow. We go down in history as one of the worst collapses ever. It definitely doesn’t feel good to be part of that.
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (a DNP tonight): Just 2 hours ago it was 7-0 & 3-2. All of a sudden within eight minutes the world changes. That’s what makes baseball the greatest game.
The Cubs had a nice night last night. Javier Baez finally broke his hitless streak with not one but two homers. Willson Contreras hit a nearly 500-foot homer. Jake Arrieta, possibly pitching for the last time as a Cub, dug down for a gutsy performance, pitching into the seventh inning, working around some walks to allow only one run while striking out nine.
After the game, Cubs players sounded hopeful notes about believing in themselves, taking them one game at a time, getting the series back to L.A. for a Game 6 and Game 7. They’re professional athletes who know better than any of us that to achieve a thing you have to believe you can achieve that thing, so it’d be dumb to expect anything else from them in this situation. Ballplayers, quite admirably, don’t sound a note of defeat until they are actually defeated.
But let’s be realistic there: they’re still a dead team walking.
- They’re dead because, as we have been reminded oh so many times, only once in 35 tries has a team come back to win a seven game series in which they’ve found themselves down 0-3. That team did so because Dave Roberts worked some magic. Dave Roberts is working for the other team now.
- They’re dead because their biggest weakness this postseason — their bullpen — is not going to have its best pitcher, Wade Davis, available today in Game 5 after throwing 48 pitches in Game 4.
- They’re dead because while the Dodgers used five relievers last night, none of them were worked particularly hard and neither Brandon Morrow nor Kenley Jansen were used at all, allowing them to come in and work hard and heavy tonight if need be.
- They’re dead because the man on the mound to start tonight’s game is Clayton Edward Kershaw. Yes, he has had some less-than-glory-filled moments in the postseason in recent years, but all of those have come at the tail end of starts, when his managers have left him in perhaps an inning too long. See the above bullet point — and Dave Roberts’ early hook in Game 1 — if you think that’ll be a problem tonight.
The Dodgers lost last night, yes, but it was their first loss in the postseason. All teams have lost at least one postseason game since it went to the three-round format, so it was likely inevitable that L.A. would drop one. Heck, maybe they’ll drop two before the NLCS is over, but they’re not going to drop the next three in a row.
Last night’s Cubs win was nice for them, but it only delayed the inevitable.