You can't imagine how hard it is to sit in the dugout after a good performance and watch your reliever give up the lead, get you tagged with two more runners that were left on base, and for the icing on the cake you get to take the loss. You have to feel for the guy, so we thought we would point out the four reasons he was robbed of a World Series win.
Reason 1: Bullpen
It was logical with two runners on base to take the ball from the starter and head to the bullpen for Craig Breslow, but it was not the move John Lackey wanted to make. He grumbled and gave up the ball, sat in the dugout and looked pretty mad as the inning unfolded.
The bullpen let him down, first by allowing for a double steal. When the Cardinals runner on second started for third and had to dive back to second to avoid the pickoff it was pretty obvious to everyone except Craig Breslow that they were going. Jarrod Saltalamacchia should have seen that with the great view he had of the runners in front of him. Instead of executing a few good pitches they got behind on the hitter and the steal happened on a high pitch. Jarrod Saltalamacchia could not get the ball out of the glove, while the runner was dead in the water going to third base.
Even here you want to keep the ball down, but Craig Breslow was unable to execute the pitches needed and gave up a sac-fly. The bullpen that had been so consistent during the ALDS and ALCS had fully misfired. Unfortunately it was a misfire on behalf of John Lackey.
Reason 2: Defense
When the reliever gave up the sac-fly that scored the Cardinals runner from third base, there was a throw from the outfield to try and get that runner at home plate. It was wide of the plate but Jarrod Saltalamacchia did not block it, instead he tried to pick the throw like a first baseman. This did not go well, followed by the Craig Breslow throwing away the ball in an attempt to get the runner coming from second to third base.
It also seemed as if the bat from Carpenter was in front of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, something he had plenty of time to kick or throw out of the way while the ball was headed to the outfield. If he would have made room for the play, adjusted to block the ball when the throw coming in was clearly not going to give himself a chance to put out the runner at home, it would have been a single run given up.
Instead it turned into a three run, 2 error inning which tagged John Lackey for the loss. A little basic defense goes a long ways.
Reason 3: Offense
Even after all the defensive blunders the Red Sox put themselves into a position to score a few runs in the 8th inning. Jacoby Ellsbury gets on first, then Shane Victorino watches a called third strike. How is that possible to be caught looking, when it is too close to risk wasting an out. Dustin Pedroia strikes out swinging, which is how you do it. David Ortiz gets on base but then Mike Napoli strands them both.
This was a missed opportunity.
In the ninth inning, John Farrell decides to let Jonny Gomes who was 0-3 for the night hit instead of pinch hitting with Daniel Nava. That was followed by letting Jarrod Saltalamacchia strike out again, making it an 0-3 night. Finally Daniel Nava is allowed to pinch hit and also strikes out, game over. Would have been nice to see what David Ross could have done and maybe Mike Carp in this situation?
Another missed opportunity to turn it around.
Reason 4: Faith
Finally, you might think that John Farrell could have a little more faith to allow John Lackey to work a bit deeper into the inning. He has earned the right to give it a try, seeing as almost every time he is lifted, it falls apart behind him.
Eric is a contributing writer since 2013 and a true Overseas Fan of the Boston Red Sox living in the Netherlands. He's spent years on baseball fields around the world pitching. His weekends are now spent helping the next generations of pitchers to find their passion and love for the sport. More articles by Eric: https://www.redsoxlife.com/search/label/ericschabell