Sox notes: Both sides a struggle for Victorino

Sox notes: Both sides a struggle for Victorino
October 18, 2013, 3:45 am
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DETROIT – Shane Victorino caught a few observers off-guard when he went to the plate in the first inning of Game 5 to face right-hander Anibal Sanchez as a left-handed hitter. This normally would not cause any questions for the normally switch-hitting Victorino. Still, since early August he has been hitting mostly from the right side. He also had one plate appearance from the left side in the ALDS against the Rays.
 
When Sanchez left the game, with Victorino facing right-hander Jose Veras for his fourth at-bat, Victorino went back to hitting from the right side.
 
His explanation for the change?
 
“No apparent reason,” he said.
 
Victorino went 0-for-5.
 
“We kind of laughed about it,” he said. “I came up to [manager John Farrell] after my third at-bat, said, ‘I think that experiment is done.’ He goes, ‘I could have told you that,’ like joking. But he was saying it in a way that if I felt comfortable that [if] I wanted to try it, that they weren’t going to be like hey, no. It’s up to me and I’m staying to the other side.”
 
Victorino confirmed he will be hitting strictly as a right-handed batter for the rest of the season.
 
Or, until he’s hitting as left-handed batter.

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Since the advent of the best-of-seven ALCS format in 1985, 15 teams have held leads of 3-2. Of those 15 teams, the team that won Game 5 went on to win the ALCS eight times, or 53 percent. In a quirk, in the last four ALCS where a team has taken a 3-2 lead (in 2008-2011), the team losing Game 5 has gone on to win the series.

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Four of the first five games have been decided by one run, tying the ALCS record of four one-run games set in 1997 between the Indians and Orioles. The record for one postseason series is six one-run games in the 1972 World Series between the A’s and Reds.

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Jacoby Ellsbury’s ninth-inning stolen base gave him six for the postseason, the most by a Sox player in a single postseason. He had been tied with Johnny Damon. The Sox now have 10 stolen bases in the postseason, a new team record.

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At 21 years, 17 days, Xander Bogaerts is the youngest Red Sox player to start a postseason game, passing Babe Ruth, who was 21 years, 246 days old in Game 2 of the 1916 World Series. Bogaerts is the third-youngest ALCS starter ever, behind Claudell Washington (20 years, 55 days) in Game 2 of the 1974 ALCS, and Bret Saberhagen (20 years, 176 days) in Game 3 of the 1984 ALCS. Bogaerts is the fourth-youngest player ever to start a postseason game at third base. Hall of Famer Fred Lindstrom in 1924, Miguel Cabrera in 2003, and Manny Machado  in 2012 were the only starters younger than Bogaerts at third.