Monday, October 14, 2013

The reverse nightmare, and where was Quintin Berry?

As I mentioned the other day, when the Red Sox dealt Jose Iglesias for Jake Peavy I feared it could come back to haunt them in the playoffs.  Oddly enough in Game 2 it was an error by the slick fielding Iglesias that led to Boston's winning run; made even more notable by the fact that he'd been inserted into the game for defensive purposes just one inning earlier.

Jonny Gomes started off the bottom of the ninth with a slow roller between short and third, on which Iglesias clearly had no chance to make the play.  He attempted a ridiculous off balance throw that skipped into the dugout, putting Gomes on second base.  A wild pitch and a Jarrod Saltalamacchia single through the drawn in infield (ironically also just out of Iglesias' reach) sent Boston fans into a frenzy celebrating the second improbable comeback win of the day (statisticians estimate the chances of both the Patriots and Red Sox pulling out those victories at 0.16%).

And while Iglesias' error was a key factor in the Sox evening the series, I feel obligated to point out that Boston manager John Farrell easily could have blown it.  The Red Sox have Quintin Berry on their postseason roster for one reason and one reason only: to pinch run in key situations.  The winning run on second base in the bottom of the 9th inning seems about as obvious an opportunity as there is.  The instant Gomes reached I thought for sure Berry would replace him; even if Boston didn't score Berry could continue playing for Gomes in left field.  I was completely dumbfounded after Gomes took third and Farrell still didn't make the move.  Luckily the Sox won anyway, but it makes absolutely no sense not to put a faster guy on the base paths in that situation.

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