But that is exactly what happened, as the normally hard-hitting Red Sox could never seem to get the big hit they needed in this series.
A perfect example was Friday's bottom of the sixth inning, when Boston loaded the bases with nobody out and came up with nothing against White Sox reliever Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez. For the series, the Red Sox hit just .240 and drove in eight runs. All three home runs they hit in the series came in Friday's season-ender, with Manny Ramirez clubbing a pair and David Ortiz capping his monster year with one more long ball.
"When you get to the playoffs, you've got to put it together. At the end of the season, it seemed like we were struggling at some points and it made it hard," said Ortiz.
Among those who struggled in the series were Johnny Damon (.231), Edgar Renteria (.231) and Bill Mueller (0-for-11).
"You have to be going good during the postseason, and I was just kind of going OK," said Damon. "I'm the guy who kind of gets this offense going, unfortunately I couldn't get it going too much."
Perhaps the over-reliance on hitting haunted the Red Sox in the end.
"We just didn't get it done in the postseason," said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. "We had a hard time getting the big hit in the postseason. You live by the sword, die by the sword. They were able to finish off their rallies in these three games and we weren't able to."
Schilling left on deck: The end of the season came with Curt Schilling being unable to throw an inning in this series. The big right-hander was slated to pitch Game 4 on Saturday. In some ways, it was a fitting end to the most frustrating season of his life.
"Ironic, I guess is the word," said Schilling. "I certainly didn't expect to be on a team that got to the postseason and not get the ball. But a lot of that is my fault. If I pitch any better during the season, we don't go to the last day and I don't have to pitch the last day of the season and we don't have to worry about clinching at the end."
Graffanino received warmly: As many people expected, there were nothing but cheers when second baseman Tony Graffanino was announced during pregame introductions. Rather than harp on his error in Game 2, Red Sox fans seemed more concerned with making sure Graffanino's morale was high in the biggest game of the season.
"I think Tony understands the team concept, the responsibility of standing up," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "He's handled this just like he's handled everything else, which is very professionally and with a great attitude."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.