Lots to chew on; tough to digest
August, 21, 2013
By Joe Stiglich, Special to ESPNBoston.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Boston Red Sox were left to digest a tough 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night, a defeat that invited debate on several fronts.
* Was Brayan Villarreal the best choice to bring in with the bases loaded and two outs of a tie game in the bottom of the ninth?
It was a tough spot, with Villarreal called up from the minors Monday and making his first appearance with Boston after being acquired from Detroit on July 30.
He fired four straight balls to walk Marco Scutaro and force in the winning run from third. Ball four was a fastball painted on the outside corner, but home plate umpire Mike Everitt ruled it a ball.
Boston manager John Farrell offered his reasons for not bringing in someone else from the bullpen.
“I’m not going to pitch (Brandon) Workman on three consecutive days, that was the decision,” Farrell said.
What about Koji Uehara?
“I was holding back on Koji because if we push across a run, he’s going to close the game out,” Farrell responded.
The Sox found themselves in that bases-loaded mess because lefty Franklin Morales walked a batter and hit another earlier in the inning.
“Franklin lost the strike zone a little bit and left us in a tough spot with two outs,” Farrell said, “with the uncertainty of his strike-throwing and knowing how patient Scutaro can be. In that quick span, he seemed to lose his release point. I felt like it was time to make a move and unfortunately it didn't work out.”
This loss was a punch in the gut any way you slice it. And catcher David Ross probably offered the best take on the night. He admitted how close the call was on the game-ending pitch, but Ross wasn’t about to let himself and his teammates off the hook after they built an early 2-0 lead but didn’t extend it.
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,” Ross said. “We've got to tighten some things up, do a better job of getting guys in, moving runners over.”
* If you were watching the game on TV with your kids, hopefully you covered their eyes as Farrell pulled Boston starter Jake Peavy from the game with two outs in the sixth and a runner on second.
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesJake Peavy wasn't happy about handing the ball over to John Farrell in the sixth inning.
Peavy was upset, and cameras caught him spicing the question “Are you kidding me?” with an obscenity as Farrell walked to the mound. It was done as part of a double switch, and with the pitcher’s spot due up second in the top of the seventh, Farrell inserted Stephen Drew at shortstop so he would hit second.
“You don’t ever like to come out of the game. Yeah, it was tough coming out,” a level-headed Peavy said after the game. “But that’s the way the game goes, and it was a move that John thought was the right move at the time. So be it.”
Craig Breslow entered and recorded the third out to strand the runner at second and keep Boston ahead 2-1 at the time.
* Key play in the game: With the tying run at third and one out in the bottom of the eighth, Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino caught Buster Posey’s fly ball in foul territory near the wall, allowing Scutaro to tag up and score the tying run.
Victorino didn’t like being asked afterward if he should have let the ball drop foul, thus not giving Scutaro the opportunity to tag up.
“You want me to do anything different?” Victorino asked. “What kind of question is that?”
Then he calmed down and explained his rationale. He didn’t want Posey, the reigning NL MVP, to extend the at-bat and perhaps hit a gapper to give the Giants the lead.
“I thought about it too,” Victorino said. “After the play was done, Scutaro crossed [the plate]. I said to myself, ‘Should I have let that fall?’ But if I let that fall foul, now he goes up there and hits the ball in the gap. You can always second-guess it, but when I was on the move over there, I told myself to catch the ball and try to get the out and get in the best position I could to make the throw.”
There were lots of things to second-guess from this one, and Farrell and his players probably were happy they play a matinee Wednesday and can quickly wipe Tuesday night from their memory banks.