BOSTON -- Red Sox hitters, and plenty of players and coaches in the dugout, expressed their displeasure with Joe West during Saturday night's ALCS Game 1, a 1-0 loss to the Tigers in which Boston struck out 17 times.
But afterward, and again before Sunday night's Game 2, those willing to criticize the veteran umpire publicly could not be found.
"There's a human element to this game, umpiring, pitching, baseball fielding, everything,'' said Jonny Gomes, who did not play Saturday but started in leftfield in Game 2. "I don't think by any means the umpires lost the game for us. I think we did.''
Said Red Sox manager John Farrell: "Joe West, his strike zone, wasn't the reason we came up on the short end of a 1-0 game. There's a lot of guys that care when they walk into that box. And they care about the at-bat. They put everything into it. Their viewpoint is certainly going to be different than an umpire's, and I respect that. Respect both sides of it. I can't say that Joe West's strike zone played any part in the way that game unfolded.''
West, the crew chief, was on the rightfield line in Game 2. If Game 7 is necessary, he'll be behind the plate.
Torii's dream: SeriesTorii Hunter, 38, has a message for his younger teammates: embrace this opportunity to get to the World Series. "You better cherish this moment. You might not get a chance to do it again,'' Hunter said. "Cherish the moment right now.''
This is Hunter's eighth trip to the postseason and second to the ALCS. He's never played in the World Series. "It's vital that I get there,'' he said of doing so before his retirement. "It's my dream. We have a long way to go, but that's my ultimate goal is to win the World Series.''