Last minute lineup change beneficial for Red Sox.
Game 3, it was an obstruction call. Last night in Game 4, a pick-off. A reversed call some thought you wouldn’t ordinarily see overturned due to the manner in which it was overturned and this 2013 World Series keeps bringing surprises.
What could Game 5 hold for us this evening? Maybe the game ends on a balk, and even if that ends up being the case, this Series has not been one of the smoother ones.
The weirdness began before the game. Red Sox skipper John Farrell‘s initial lineup had Shane Victorino in right with Daniel Nava getting the start in left over Jonny Gomes. Around an hour before game time, Victorino was scratched due to lower back issues. Nave was moved from left to right and moved to Victorino’s customary second spot in the order. Gomes was now the guy in left.
Oh, how fate has a sense of humor.
Boston starter Clay Buchholz had created an air mystery leading up to gametime. How was his health? How far could he go? Would he actually get the ball? The answers: Not very (velocity was off), four innings (faced 18 batters), and obviously “yes”. Upon Buchholz’s departure, the Red Sox were trailing 1-0. Farrell pieced together the game from there.
The Red Sox scored tied the game in the top of the fifth, but it could have been so much more.
David Ortiz led off with a double off St. Louis Cardinals starter Lance Lynn. Back-to-back walks to Gomes (in a fantastic 10-pitch AB) and Xander Bogaerts loaded the bases. Ortiz scored on a Stephen Drew sacrifice fly to tie the game at 1-1. Gomes and Bogaerts would be stranded after Lynn caught David Ross looking at strike three and a Mike Carp groundout.
The next inning was the boom…and it would be the last-minute change in Gomes that provided the thunder. On the fifth pitch from reliever Seth Maness, Gomes sent a majestic fly ball into the bullpen to put the Red Sox ahead, 4-1. His reaction told the story (VIDEO).
The four runs were enough, but you wondered at times if they would truly hold. After Buchholz worked his four, Felix Dubront provided 2.2 innings of work and was credited with allowing the Cards second run, but it wasn’t completely on his watch.
The World Series keeps getting sour for Craig Breslow. He faced two batters last night after relieving Dubront. The first was Matt Carpenter, a lefty. Carpenter knocked in pinch-runner Shane Robinson with a single to right. Next was Carlos Beltran. Having turned him around to bat right-handed, Breslow walked him on four pitches.
Apparently, Farrell had seen enough and yanked Breslow for Junichi Tazawa. Two Tazawa pitches produced the inning’s final out and Boston headed to the 8th with a 4-2 lead.
John Lackey pitched the 8th, but there were tense moments there as well. After Lackey retired Matt Adams, Yadier Molina reached base on a Bogaerts error. Molina ended up on second. A Lackey wild pitch allowed Yadi to go to third with only one out. A popout off the bat of Jon Jay and David Freese grounded out to end the inning and threat.
Bottom of the 9th and Koji Uehara on to close out the game. With one out, Cards skipper Mike Matheny send the injured Allen Craig to pinch-hit. Craig laced a shot over Nava’s head, but he could barely get to first. Ordinarily, that’s a double, no question. Instead, Matheny sent Kolton Wong to pinch-run.
Uehara coaxed a shallow flyout from Carpenter, and up steps Beltran. He never swung the bat…
After two pitches, Wong was inexplicably picked off first to end the game. Matheny on Wong being picked off to end the game…
Well, he knew, we had meetings early on, we go overall these guys. We talk very clearly about a very good pick-off move. He was reminded once he got on base, and also he reminded that run didn’t mean much, be careful, shorten up. And he got a little extra, then he slipped and the slip cost him.
More weirdness tonight? It is close to Halloween, you know.