Mastrodonato: Red Sox couldn’t hit the fastball, and other leftover thoughts from ALCS defeat

HOUSTON — The Red Sox hitters were stunned that an offense that scored 25 runs over the first three games could muster just 10 hits combined over the final three.

Alex Cora thought it was a simple change from Astros catcher Martin Maldonado in the middle of Game 4, when the Astros started pumping in more fastballs and the Sox weren’t ready for it.

As good as the Sox were at hitting off-speed pitches all season, they weren’t quite as adept at hitting fastballs. And after the Astros threw just 67% fastballs in Games 1 through 4 of the American League Championship Series, there was a clear change of attack in Games 5 and 6, when they threw 76% fastballs.

The Red Sox chased too many, struggled to make good contact and became the same team they were late in September, making quick outs and appearing like they had a home run swing every time up.

In the first four games, the Astros needed an average of 167 pitches. Over the final two, they threw just 235 pitches combined, a 29% decrease in pitches thrown.

“He gets out of his script, and that’s something that is very impressive,” Cora said of Maldanado. “And I think it was halfway through Game 4, I felt that they were changing, and they used the fastballs in different spots. Their righties. Especially their righties. And we just weren’t able to catch up with the…

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