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Red Sox guilty of a little too much playoff baseball

Oct 7, 2013, 11:08 PM EDT

Division Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays - Game Three Getty Images

The Red Sox could have played this one straight up tonight. Instead, they made concessions to it being a postseason games. Because postseason games are rarely won 12-2 or 7-4.

- In the seventh, with the score tied at 3, the Red Sox used Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa to get three outs. Those are John Farrell’s second and third most trusted relievers, yet they faced two batters apiece in a tie game. As a result, it was the team’s fifth or sixth best reliever, Franklin Morales, who got the ball in the eighth. And while he didn’t necessarily pitch badly — the inning was a calamity all around — he was charged with the go-ahead run after the other fifth or sixth best reliever, Brandon Workman, was called on with a runner on second base.

- In the eighth, David Ortiz was removed for a pinch-runner after drawing a leadoff walk. It was the fourth time he had been on base in four trips. It nearly resulted in disaster, as pinch-runner Quintin Berry should have been called out on his attempted steal of second base. He was declared safe anyway, but he didn’t come around to score. When Ortiz’s spot came up in a tie game in the ninth, Mike Carp hit in his place.

It was the first time since May 8 that Ortiz had been removed for a pinch-runner in the eighth or earlier in a close game.

- In the top of the ninth, with the Red Sox down by one and runners on first and second, Shane Victorino decided to bunt against a wild Fernando Rodney even after Will Middlebrooks walked on five pitches and Jacoby Ellsbury singled on a 2-0 pitch. He continued to bunt even after the first pitch was called a ball. Victorino hit .315/.395/.560 after a 1-0 count this year. Still, he gave himself up. With a big inning potentially there for the taking, the Red Sox scored one run to tie it back up.

- In the bottom of the ninth, closer Koji Uehara took over even though it was a tie game and the Red Sox were playing on the road. Actually, this was totally the right call. It just didn’t work out. Jose Lobaton hit a walkoff homer.

The rest of it, though… there’s not any one thing move cost the Red Sox the game. But they surely would have been better off had they played it the same way they did when they amassed the best record in the American League this year.

  1. Jack Marshall - Oct 7, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    1. Hind-sight bias. If the Sox had won, you wouldn’t mention any of this.
    2.Two fluke infield hits led to the Rays going ahead.
    3. The worst Farrell move was not pinch-hitting for Drew with Bogaerts against a lefty with men in scoring position.
    4. Workman is damn good,
    5. Despite all the hype, Farrell is NOT an outstanding in-game manager.

    • peterjohnjoseph - Oct 7, 2013 at 11:55 PM

      The only thing I agree with is the Bogaerts for Drew pinch hit. This is something that has addressed time and time again and yet still continues to happen.

    • dwrek5 - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      So I guess we are not allowed to go back and analyze decisions? Every party needs a pooper!

    • moogro - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      This is not 20/20 hindsight, this is post-game discussion. We all saw and knew Farrell’s mistakes 20/20 live during the moment.

  2. aceshigh11 - Oct 7, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    Oh well…it was a close, hard-fought game. Congrats to the Rays.

    Here’s hoping the Sox can close it out tomorrow night.

  3. wheels579 - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    Jake McGee is tougher on righties than lefties so it was not a mistake to let Drew hit there.

    Running for Ortiz was questionable. But Carp has been a clutch pinch-hitter this year and Rodney finally made two good pitches to strike him out.

  4. unclemosesgreen - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    When Victorino squared to sacrifice I died a little inside. A saber metric angel lost its’ wings. Farrell was given the keys to a Maserati & he just wrapped it around a tree.

    • 18thstreet - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      Don Zimmer had no idea how to use a bench — the real reason the 1978 team collapsed in September. This is, in baseball terms, a huge slander against Farrell.

      • unclemosesgreen - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:04 AM

        It ain’t slander because it’s true. Victorino is on fire from the right side of the plate & Farrell went all LaRussian & treated him like a national league pitcher. Even if he taps into a double play there I would still back letting him swing away afterwards.

    • Glenn - Oct 8, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      Farrell has been doing these things all year. He is a below average game manager. I’ve been worried about how his love of bunting and over-managing wouldcatch up to him in the play-offs.

  5. sabatimus - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    I questioned running Berry for Ortiz: Ortiz had been on base 4 times, and it was a very close score. But with Carp on the bench I thought maybe it was ok. But then Carp took strike three which was in the exactly same spot as strike two. How do you not at least attempt a swing, especially since you just saw the exact pitch?

  6. jason9696 - Oct 8, 2013 at 1:30 AM

    They should have intentionally walked Evan Longoria before he hit the home run. He’s the one guy in Tampa Bays line up that I wouldn’t let beat me.

    • gallyhatch - Oct 8, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      ESPECIALLY with Myers up next.

      This is the biggest blunder of the night IMHO.

  7. skeleteeth - Oct 8, 2013 at 6:08 AM

    Didn’t want to bring the go ahead run to the plate and hindsight blabbity blabbity…

  8. js20011041 - Oct 8, 2013 at 7:08 AM

    Honestly, I think Ferrell ISN’T treating this like playoff baseball. He has been unbelievably slow to get his starters out of the ball game these last two games. I get it that he doesn’t really trust the bullpen, but when Lackey and Buchholz are giving up multiple base runners every inning, you’re playing Russian roulette if you keep them in there. With all of the days off, each one of the relievers can throw virtually every game. There is no need to ride a starter if he’s struggling or to let him try and work through jams.

  9. ajsjr40 - Oct 8, 2013 at 7:48 AM

    Farrell was awful last night. He is not a good ‘in game’ manager. Of all the players on TB Longoria is the one player who you can’t let beat you, particularly with a twenty-two year old on deck. You don’t pinch run for Papi. Morales should not be pitching in any games that matter. Drew should not be hitting in that spot. Victorino shouldn’t bunt. And could someone please tell Nava to swing at a 2-0 fastball down the middle and not a 2-1 curveball in the dirt. Dude drives me crazy.

  10. rickdobrydney - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    Watch for that blast off Uehara to hang like a dark cloud over him and the Sox for the rest of the series —-

  11. jbriggs81 - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Can we talk about Buchholz for a minute. He is clearly putting something in his hair in between innings (I am guessing some type of hair gel mixed with water) and uses it to get a better grip on his pitches.In between nearly every other pitch, he touches the back of his hair with his fingers. The later in the game he pitched – the wetter his hair got. I am not talking about sweat either since his hair was greasier after each time he came out of the dugout.
    I am not saying that whatever he is using has any effect on the movement of the baseball. Instead he is simply getting a better grip on the ball. However, that is still against the rules yet all of MLB just looks the other way at it. I don’t get it

  12. bornintoitiniowa - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    The bottom four in the lineup killed the Sox last night. Salty striking out 3 times and leaving four on base?! Terrible. While I like Nava as much as the next guy (best $1 contract in MLB history), I think Gomes will be playing. He’s a threat, despite his batting average. I also think Bogaerts will go in for Drew at some point tonight, maybe not necessarily start, but he’ll be in there.

  13. j0esixpack - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Good post game analysis by Pouliot here

    They may not have one even if they hadn’t made those moves but baseball is a game of inches and stats and it’s tough not to second guess.

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