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Red Sox bullpen the postseason MVP

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  October 18, 2013 01:53 AM

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DETROIT — A few notes from another compelling game in the ALCS:

• Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara have pitched 18.2 innings in the postseason and allowed two runs. In the ALCS, the Red Sox bullpen as a unit has given up one run over 17 innings.

• Uehara’s five-out save was the first for the Red Sox in the postseason since Jonathan Papelbon in Game 4 of the 2007 World Series and the third in team history. Dick Drago did it in Game 3 of the 1975 ALCS.

• Four of the five games in the series have been decided by one run, the Sox winning three of those games.

• Mike Napoli's home run in the second inning was 460 feet according to the folks who figure out such things. What was amazing is that Napoli hit a ball that far on a 51-degree night with the wind blowing in and a light rain falling. And it was to dead center.

"That thing is still going," Dustin Pedroia said.

Napoli is 6 of his last 10 with two homers and two doubles after starting the series 0 for 6. His getting hot could have major implications in the days to come. Napoli had a good all-round game, scoring on a wild pitch in the third inning after moving up on a tapper back to the mound. He also had a strong game at first base.

• When Jacoby Ellsbury stole second base in the second inning, it gave him five for the postseason. That tied Johnny Damon [in 2004] for the most by a Red Sox player in a single postseason. The Sox have 10 steals in the postseason, a franchise record.

• Shane Victorino, who has batted almost exclusively righthanded since early August because of a left hamstring strain, batted lefthanded against Anibal Sanchez three times and was 0 for 3, hitting three ground balls. He said later he was uncomfortable at the plate lefthanded and wouldn't try it again this season.

Victorino batted righthanded against Jose Veras in the seventh inning and against Al Albuquerque in the ninth, striking out both times. Victorino was 0 for 5 and is 2 for 21 in the series.

• Jim Leyland called Alex Avila's knee injury "pretty rough, pretty bad" and said he hopeful of his catcher playing in Game 6.

Avila was injured when David Ross tried to score on a contact play in the second inning and ran him over. Ross was out but Avila took the brunt of the collision. Leyland had no problem with the play. Ross said didn't have much of a choice with the plate blocked.

Both of the catchers missed time with concussions this season, too.

"Going hard. He understood, I think," Ross said "We both actually just talked the other day about our concussions. I know what he's been through, and he knows what I've been through. It's one of those things."

It makes you wonder when baseball will ban such plays at the plate and mandate sliding.

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