The video above will explain it better than we can.
Not sure of how Middlebrooks does not impede Craig—and you can be sure the rule will be looked at before next season—but they called the play correctly.
In reality, Game 3 was a lost cause before then.
For a team that made precious few mistakes, Game 3 was a highlight reel of bad judgment wrapped into a package no one wants to open on Christmas morning.
John Farrell failed, as in John McNamara and Grady Little failure.
Pinch-hitting for Jake Peavy—who struggled with everything, including his emotions—in the fifth was the right call. Sending Peavy out there for another inning was a disaster waiting to happen.
In the moment of pitching the biggest game of his life, he started rattled and ended nearly weeping in the fourth working out of another jam.
Felix Doubront gave the performance we hoped would have been seen Sunday behind Clay Buchholz. He threw two solid innings and could have probably pitched the seventh if not pinch-hit for.
Bringing Craig Breslow to replace him with, however, was not good. Breslow’s Game 2 performance was bad and his Game 3 outing was worse. He failed to retire anybody and allowed St. Louis to take a 4-2 lead.
Boston would tie it off closer Trevor Rosenthal in the eighth and make him throw two innings. He will be unavailable for Game 3.
Then the parade of dumb cranked up.
With the pitcher’s spot due up second, Brandon Workman never having a professional at-bat of any kind and Mike Napoli sitting on the bench, Farrell lets Workman hit.
Three pitches later, there are two out.
If Farrell would not let Doubront hit with no one on and two out in the seventh, why would he not hit for Workman?
It gets better.
Workman gives up a one out single to Yadir Molina and Farrell yaks him for Uehara. Essentially, Farrell traded his 26th out for an additional Cardinals out.
Allen Craig doubles to left, putting the statue Molina on third for John Jay.
First base is open, why not load the bases?
Farrell chooses to pitch to Jay. Jay hits a grounder that is grabbed by Dustin Pedroia—saving a single—who fires home to throw out Molina.
For whatever reason, Saltalamacchia fires it to third to double off Craig. Why? Peter Kozma and his 54 OPS+ is next to hit! Why?
Some of these decisions come down to a fear of Buchholz pitching Game 4. In some ways, it looked as if Farrell was too busy figuring out the next game before finishing the current.
Ryan Dempster—the other long reliever—was warming late in Game 3. Everybody knows you are going to get four innings out of Buchholz, why burn both long men if you do not need too?
The series is not over, by a long shot. However, mental mistakes have hurt Boston in both losses.
Farrell has shown no faith in Middlebrooks playing third or benching the hitter formerly known as Stephen Drew. The team has been sucked into the drama of whether Buchholz will pitch and looks lost.
They need to forget about Saturday and move on.
* * * *
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