ST. LOUIS -- Lefty Craig Breslow was Mr. Reliable for the Red Sox in the American League Division Series and the AL Championship Series, producing seven straight scoreless appearances. But in the World Series, he has come undone a bit, retiring just one batter in his three outings.
Breslow, who normally has excellent control, also has two walks while giving up a hit in all three appearances.
Any reason why there has been such a drop in the lefty's performance?
"Maybe a little bit tentative," said manager John Farrell. "I don't want to say it's tentative because of a physical thing. He just hasn't really settled in against this lineup.
"[Perhaps] lack of familiarity, where he's got that against every other American League team he's faced. I thought two nights ago, he gets the check swing [hit], ends up in a spot, if that inning unfolds a little bit differently, who knows? It might right the ship a little bit for him. He left a pitch up last night to [Matt] Carpenter last night, and like I said, I thought he got a little bit too fine to [Carlos] Beltran."
Breslow admits that perhaps he has been too tentative.
"I need to be aggressive and throw the ball over the plate," the lefty wrote in his blog on WEEI.com. "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."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.