Craig Breslow's Playoff Blog: A huge win and a better night's sleep

October 28, 2013 - 9:07 am
Red Sox left-hander Craig Breslow will contribute regularly to this blog throughout his team'€™s postseason run. In addition to his work on the mound, the eight-year big leaguer also is the founder and executive director of the Strike 3 Foundation, a charitable agency that heightens awareness, mobilizes support and raises funding for childhood cancer research. To learn more about the Strike 3 Foundation, and its new Play It Forward program, click here. This game, especially this postseason, is emotionally draining. It's a roller coaster. Each game carries tremendous weight, but that simply makes it more important to treat each one as its own event, separate from the next. The Game 3 loss was frustrating, but we've done a good job all season of leaving yesterday behind and worrying about today. Granted, there was a lot of frustration after the Game 3 loss on an obstruction call, perhaps because of a lack of understanding of the rulebook and the context for the outcome, but at the end of the day, it was a loss. We've been able to turn the page on losses all season long. We did that again last night. We knew that Game 4 was a game that we needed. Entering it, there was some curiosity about how many innings Clay Buchholz might be able to pitch inasmuch as it was really difficult for us to know exactly how he was feeling. But in the end, this was a situation where the game situation ended up dictating how long he went rather than his stuff or his health. He left because we needed to pinch-hit for him, rather than due to physical limitations. He could have been throwing 96 or 100 mph, and he still would have been replaced. That being the case, I don't think you can overstate the importance of him battling, taking the ball without his best stuff, working through hitters, manipulating the ball, getting ground balls and giving us a chance. Jonny Gomes' home run into our bullpen was huge. Off the bat, it was tough to know if it was going to make it to us, because the trajectory is such that it looks like a lot of balls are coming off the bat pretty well but the left fielders have ended up going in on them. Until the ball cleared the fence, it was hard to tell whether it would be a home run. That's obviously the part of the park where Jonny's power plays, though, and it was a great swing and an enormous hit. It was really impressive to see the way Felix Doubront came in and shut down the Cardinals after he did the same thing in Game 3. In retrospect, it's funny to think that at the end of the regular season, Felix expressed doubt about his ability to contribute out of the bullpen. I wouldn't speak for him, but I can imagine that there would be some frustration that after being a starter all season long, you don't have the opportunity to continue in that role in the postseason. Still, as we've seen throughout the year, we've got 25 guys who make winning their priority. If there's a chance to help the team win, that's all that matters.  I think the biggest thing was for Felix to understand that he had stuff that could help us. Clearly, he put his stamp on Game 4. He had a pretty significant stake in our win. I followed Felix into the game with a runner on second and two outs, facing Matt Carpenter for the third straight game. The first two games, I'd felt good about my execution of pitches even if the outcomes -- a sacrifice fly in Game 2 and an infield single in Game 3 -- had been less than ideal. This time was different. I was trying to go down and away with a fastball and the pitch ended up being up and in. If I go down and away, I think we have a pretty good chance of getting him out. I was probably trying to do a little too much, with the result being a run for the Cardinals. I still had a chance to get out of the inning, but I walked Carlos Beltran. I've walked an uncharacteristic number of hitters (7) in the postseason. There's probably some component of overthinking the pitch in some circumstances, knowing what's at stake with each pitch. But that can't excuse walks. I need to be aggressive and throw the ball over the plate. I didn't do that in Game 4. Fortunately, Junichi Tazawa was able to pick me up, as did our team's clutch hitting, big pitches and far-reaching contributions, which included John Lackey doing a great job in an unfamiliar role in the eighth inning. At this point of the postseason, I feel like I have some work to do to get back to where I need to be. There's not a specific adjustment to make so much as a need to catch my breath and get back to what has worked for six months. It's not always easy, as these games can magnify problems given that the amplitude is increased, but with all of that in mind, I'm getting called upon to do a job and I didn't do it. Certainly, it becomes a little bit easier to take a step back after a win like Game 4 than it was after Games 2 or 3. When you lose, you start to think about your performance and the way it contributed to a team loss. Here, I don't have to worry about how it contributed to a team loss. I will consume myself with my personal performance and how to improve it, but most importantly, we won the game. I need to be better, and I'm confident that I will be, but the takeaway from Game 4 is that we moved one step, one win, closer to our ultimate goal. I could sleep last night knowing that.