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The Red Sox tear up the script, tie the World Series at two games a piece

Oct 27, 2013, 11:53 PM EDT

ST. LOUIS — A start from a broken pitcher that went way better than anyone might have guessed. A three-run homer from the most unlikely of men.  On a night when the smart money was lining up against the Boston Red Sox, the storylines didn’t go the way they were supposed to go, resulting in a 4-2 Red Sox win and a series that is now tied at two games a piece.

About those pesky storylines:

  • Clay Buchholz‘s arm was supposed to be 87% Nutella and jelly swirl — and maybe it was given his decreased velocity — but he somehow made it through four innings allowing only a single unearned run. The over/under on columns describing his performance as “gutsy” tomorrow morning is approximately six gabillion. And I’m taking the over.
  • The ground ball specialist Seth Maness was called in to bail out Lance Lynn with two out and runners on in the sixth inning, on a night when home plate umpire Paul Emmel was calling low, low strikes. He’s supposed to induce a worm burner but he left a sinker high. Oops.
  • That high sinker was delivered to The Totally Ineffective Jonny Gomes, who was supposed to be pumping one of the handles on the two-man handcar bound for oblivion with Jarrod Saltalamacchia as Game 4 commenced. But thanks to back tightness Shane Victorino was pulled, forcing Gomes into the game. Naturally, he hit a three-run homer.

But more than anything, The Red Sox, who walked off the field with their heads hanging low after Saturday night’s crazy loss, were supposed to be demoralized and broken. So much for that storyline too. And make that strike 937 against the idea that momentum is a thing in baseball.

What is a thing? David Ortiz knocking three hits and a walk, putting him at 8 for 11 this World Series and at .430+ in World Series play over his career. He didn’t knock in any runs tonight but he scored two and, Jonny Gomes’ heroics notwithstanding, is carrying this Red Sox team offensively.

Also a thing: John Farrell learning from his mistakes from Saturday night and not sticking with guys too long. Pulling Buchholz when he did. Pinch running for Ortiz when he got on base for the fourth time and using Mike Napoli as his defensive replacement. Not that he went fully conventional. He brought John Lackey in to pitch relief in the eighth. It was his first work from the pen in nine years. The performance was a bit shaky thanks to some bad defense behind him, but it ended up not killing him.

Those were just details, though. The important thing is that, on a night when a loss would have likely killed the Sox’ hope at winning this World Series, they gathered themselves together in businesslike fashion and delivered the sort of win that teams who aren’t upset, rattled or demoralized deliver. “We haven’t lost four games in a row all year,” their actions seemed to say tonight, “so we certainly weren’t going to lose four straight in the World Series.” A World Series that is now tied 2-2. And that is now guaranteed to head back to Fenway Park for a Game 6 on Wednesday night.

But first a Game 5 in St. Louis on Monday. In a series that refuses to follow a script.

  1. asexatheani - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:29 AM

    Fielding wise, this series has been absolutely horrible. Wild throws, bobbles, and passed balls on both sides. It’s painful to watch. Hitting and pitching have been good, though (and in the case of Bucholtz tonight, better than expected).

    One silver lining for the Cardinals: this forced a Game 6…which means Michael Wacha will be on the mound in Fenway. Wacha Wacha!

  2. Jack Marshall - Oct 28, 2013 at 7:30 AM

    Sure it is following a script—the script the Boston Red Sox have been following at least since April, 1967: the team is unpredictable, playing its best when it has been written off, collapsing when most teams would be wrapping things up. Most of all, this particular team has bounced back from awful losses, exceeded expectations and found unlikely heroes all season long.

    Another script it is following: making John Farrell, a mediocre manager at best, look competent. Last night, instead of staying too long with a starter, he removed Felix Dubront for no good reason. When Doubront has his control, he is lights out: there was no reason at all to remove him for Breslow….especially the way Breslow has been pitching.

    Here’s another script: Fox is broadcasting the World Series as if it is a flower show or a sit-in, over-lapping the action with pointless chats, missing base hits but focusing on cancer survivor pageants, awards and musical performances. It’s obvious the network doesn’t think the World Series is interesting enough to sustain an audience, so it is junking it up with irrelevancies that make the broadcast unwatchable for those of us who just want to see the ^^%#@! game. I must have hit the mute button 20 times last night.

    But thank-you, thank-you, thank-you, Koji Uehara for picking off Wong after McCarver went on and on and on about how dumb it was for Napoli to be holding him on base. My god, he’s awful.

    • drelms - Oct 28, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      Joe Buck is gay, that’s why the flower show and endless talking, and McCarver, he’s so old his freaking birth certificate expired. The pick off move at first was classic, just after McCarver said, it’s a two run lead, Wong is inconsequential to the game, the tying run is at the base, why does Napoli bother holding him? It leaves a big gap between first and second. Yeah with McCarver and Buck the FOX sure puts up a winning team doesn’t it. Losers

  3. cjmar2k - Oct 28, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    FOX is as bad at Sports as it is in Politics! They know how to junk it up with bits and pieces of things that make no sense and the more drama the better.

    • drelms - Oct 28, 2013 at 9:54 AM

      hey CJ, you can find the World Series on your laptop, just stream it live and use a HDMI cable if you want HD. You avoid FOX entirely, and you would have seen the actual pick-off move to end the game live instead of seeing a replay that FOX offered. The bonus to that is you would have not had to seen gay joe buck, not there’s anything wrong with it, just come out already, your wife knows.

      • atlwmn - Oct 28, 2013 at 10:08 AM

        Yeah that pissed me off, that FOX was showing the crowd instead of focusing on the game. Everything happened so fast it was hard to tell what occured. Between the announcers and low prioritization of the actual game, FOX has lost my respect for baseball.

  4. drelms - Oct 28, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Once again calcatera proves he does not watch baseball much. I don’t read this hacks work but saw his first line saying, “a three run homer from the most unlikely of men”

    Hey moron, Jonny Gomes has the most home-runs from any pinch hitter this year, and if you followed the Sox this season, you would have seen many incredible hits coming off the bench. Like all of the other players on this team, he has had the opportunity to turn things around with his bat, and has gotten it done. Maybe that explains their best record in baseball huh?

    Go follow tiddly winks boy leave the sports writing for the men.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 28, 2013 at 10:07 AM

      Hey, knock off the gay bashing. And most HR by a pinch hitter? You’re basing your criticism off that?

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 28, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        As I said before, people love to see patterns in data, they just can’t fathom when it’s meaningless and therefore irrelevant. It’s like when TV puts on the lifetime stats for hitters vs individual pitchers (so and so is 3 for 8 lifetime vs what’s his name).

    • jbriggs81 - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      I’m pretty sure that what Craig was getting at when he referenced Gomes as the most unlikely of men, is that Gomes has looked like crap this postseason especially in the WS. In fact, Farrell finally noticed that Gomes looks so bad at the plate that he stopped starting him in LF and if it wasn’t for Victornio being injured, Gomes wouldn’t have been playing yesterday.

      I get what you are saying regarding the regular season, but up until last nights at bat when the pitcher made a mistake leaving that sinker up, Gomes has looked completely overmatched

    • cur68 - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      I keep telling people like you this, but you never seem to get it: the internets is FREE. Go somewhere else if you don’t like the content here, because you argument isn’t sensible. Or is it that you like to shout? I dunno.

      However, in the unlikely event that you really are a reasonable person clinging to narratives or just less useful stats you should know that there isn’t anything wrong with referring to a guy who was 0-9 in the WS as “unlikely to hit”. A guy who boasts a 149/season SO average over his career. His OPS+ this season was 111. He had 13 HRs all season. Hell, his BA over the season was .246, if you wanna go all old school stat over it. He’s facing a pretty good (not great, but pretty good) pitcher. A guy with strike out stuff vs a guy prone to striking out. Its REASONABLE to conclude that Jonny Gomes was unlikely to get a hit.

      Now, you do have some leverage for argument. What is also reasonable to conclude is that if Gomes gets wood on ball he has reasonably good slugging numbers and a decent OPS. He’s just not likely to get that hit.

  5. Francisco (FC) - Oct 28, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    Hey! HBT-bot! Do your job and clean up the spammer!

  6. gostlcards5 - Oct 28, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    All I can say is these last 2 games have had crazy finishes. Wong should not allow himself to be close to the position to get picked off in that situation. McCarver may actually have been right in his statement (so few of which are true) that they should not have been holding him on, but they did, and they made the right move in doing so. Big mistake by Wong in that situation. Great play by Uehara, timed it perfectly.

    As far as people saying that both McCarver and Buck have rooting interest with the Cardinals. It may be true, but I think McCarver, most times, has actually sounded the other way. Perhaps he is trying to make people believe that he does not and is overdoing it….who knows? Either way, for a seemingly sharp, well-spoken guy, he says a LOT of stupid things, regardless of which way the topic leans. Listening to him has been truly frustrating.

  7. tonyz6060chevy - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Gee whiz ,Tim McCarver must be disappointed that his “Budweiser” Cardinals are tied,
    .after nearly proclaiming the Red Birds World Series Champs on Saturday’s Broadcast !

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