Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli reacts after he's called out on strikes in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)
Boston — The Red Sox weren’t happy about anything during or after Saturday night’s Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
The opener the Tigers won 1-0, by the way, in part because the Red Sox struck out 17 times.
This is a team, though, that struck more times during the regular season than the Oakland A’s, whom the Tigers’ pitching did a good job of carving up with Ks in the Division Series.
So the fact the Sox struck out a lot wasn’t a surprise.
The fact they checked their swings so much, and that they complained about so many calls by plate umpire Joe West, and about the outcome of several appeals, however, was surprising.
Sox manager John Farrell took the high road, though.
“I can’t say there was an issue of the umpiring,” he said.
“That would be taking away from the talent that (the Tigers’) pitching staff had.
“They had good stuff. They’re a talent group. (Anibal) Sanchez had a power fastball, a good change-up, a slider when he needed it against right-handers, and a lot of swings and misses, obviously.
“There might have been a couple of pitches that were pitchers’ pitches that seemed to go against us. But to say the umpiring was the reason why we didn’t get a hit until the ninth inning, that would be a little short-sighted on my part.”
Farrell is a former pitcher himself — a former Tigers’ pitcher (1996), in fact. He knows when hitters have legitimate complaints and when they don’t.
“Any time (Sanchez) had a man on base,” Farrell said, “he would get a strikeout when needed.”
And the reason for those strikeouts?
Again, the high road.
“I can’t say there aren’t going to be pitches missed,” said Farrell. “That’s just a human part of the game. But I can’t say that was the reason.”