In must-win spot, Sox can draw from own history

Facing elimination in '99 and '07 against Cleveland, Boston rallied to win series

In must-win spot, Sox can draw from own history

BOSTON -- Behind closed doors, the discussions amongst Red Sox players and coaches on Saturday at Fenway Park revolved largely around wiping away their last two days in Cleveland, stressing the importance of having a short memory as they face elimination in the American League Division Series in Game 3 (Monday at 6 p.m. ET, TBS).

Yet if the Red Sox are going to turn any pages, perhaps they should be in their own history book. Boston has crafted a knack for laughing in the face of elimination, including doing it twice to stun these same Indians, rallying from down 2-0 in the 1999 ALDS and down 3-1 in the 2007 American League Championship Series.

No wonder, with the nostalgia of David Ortiz's looming farewell thick in the air, there is a sense that this series has plenty of life left.

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 6 CLE 5, BOS 4 video
Gm 2 Oct. 7 CLE 6, BOS 0 video
Gm 3 Oct. 10 CLE 4, BOS 3 video

"It's not over yet," Dustin Pedroia said. "There's not really another response to that. They have to beat us three times, not two."

The Red Sox are the only team in postseason history to win multiple five-game series after trailing 2-0, extending their seasons despite falling behind Cleveland in the '99 ALDS (Pedro Martinez memorably firing six hitless innings in relief for Game 5) and getting off the mat against the Athletics in the 2003 ALDS.

"It's a shell-shock sometimes when you're going out there for your first time in the postseason and realize that it's the best-of-five, or your season can be over," said Clay Buchholz, a member of the '07 Sox club that sent Cleveland home. "… We don't have to do anything extra. We're the Boston Red Sox. We know how good we are and we're here for a reason."

While Indians manager Terry Francona will be trying his best to short-circuit any sparks of magic from the third-base dugout this week, the march to Francona's second ring with Boston went through Cleveland, with the Sox pushed to the limit by a 96-win Tribe club before reeling off three straight victories.

Those wins were credited to Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling and Daisuke Matsuzaka, as Boston then steam-rolled past the Rockies for a World Series sweep. Ortiz, Pedroia and Buchholz remain as the holdovers from that Sox club, and that pedigree carries value to a new breed of Boston talent.

Boston's playoff comebacks

"It's big to kind of feed off the guys who've been through it," Brock Holt said. "There are a lot of guys that have played in the postseason and had exceptional postseasons. We've also got a lot of guys that this is their first time. You can always learn from the people that have been here before. We'll look to those guys and the new guys hopefully can contribute as well."

Farrell served as Francona's pitching coach in '07, and he knows better than most that around these parts, lightning has a way of striking multiple times.

"I think the biggest thing is to continue to show trust and confidence, and to know that we've gotten to this point because of a very good team, a team that has accomplished and performed very well," Farrell said. "So to remain consistent with that, and they understand it and know that my approach has not changed with them because of the day in which we're in."

Even David Price, if so inclined, could offer some perspective. In last year's ALDS, Price and the Blue Jays fell in an 0-2 hole against the Rangers before rallying. Counting both leagues, seven of 53 clubs have come back from 0-2 to win a series; not the kinds of odds you'd bet the kids' college fund on, but a fighter's chance nonetheless.

"[The veterans said] just to be confident in ourselves," Mookie Betts said. "We're a really good team, and just to believe that and play like it. Hopefully we have a different outcome."

Farrell on Red Sox's Game 2 loss

This being Boston, though, there's no better example than the granddaddy of all comebacks. Ortiz will forever be remembered for his role in a 2004 ALCS comeback that still haunts the Yankees, the series that ensured Dave Roberts never again has to pay for a drink within Boston's city limits.

No lead is safe, especially at Fenway. Even if the highlight videos weren't consulted on Saturday, the next generation seems to have picked up that message loud and clear.

"We don't have to be reminded," Jackie Bradley Jr. said. "Whether we're young or old, we know what we need to do. We've got to win ballgames."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.