Crazy weekend in the World Series, Huh?!
From Saturday's Game 3 "walk-off" obstruction call to last night's Game 4 game-ending pick off. We've seen pretty much everything in the first four games of the World Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals.
And what have we learned? Felix Doubront has been a savior out of the Sox bullpen. Craig Breslow has not been himself. Jonny Gomes has had one good swing. Big Papi is out of his mind at the plate right now and I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't see another pitch to hit from here going forward!
Games 3 and 4 featured the same exact line score for Boston; four runs, six hits and two errors. One win, one loss and an even series with a critical Game 5 tonight.
Let's dive back into Game 3 just for a moment. Well done Xander Bogaerts who scored the first Red Sox run in the 5th after hitting a lead-off triple and tying the game with an RBI single in the 8th. Jake Peavy was an escape artist. Doubront was awesome and Will Middlebrooks should have made two plays.
In the 7th, Middlebrooks reacted late to Matt Holliday's two-run double that put St. Louis ahead 4-2. It would have been a sensational play had he made it, but a slow first step allowed the ball to get by him. Even if he knocks the ball down, he's still got a chance to get one out instead of none.
Then the infamous obstruction call. Third base umpire Jim Joyce called the play as it is written in the rule book. Like or not, it was the correct interpretation of the obstruction rule. Did Allen Craig push down on Middlebrooks to tray and get up and trip himself? Maybe, but the rule has no wiggle room.
Where the play went wrong, on two levels, was when Satly threw the ball to third and Middlebrooks could not make the catch on a throw that was not terrible. Knock the ball down and obstruction is not even an issue. In the end, the Red Sox got a huge win in Game 4 to, at the very least, bring the series back to Boston.
On to Game 4.
Trailing 1-0 in the 5th, Boston loaded the bases as David Ortiz doubled, Jonny Gomes walked and Xander Bogaerts walked. Stephen Drew, who has been in a monumental slump, finally came through with a clutch at-bat as he lifted a sacrifice fly to just deep enough left field to score the lumbering Ortiz to tie the game.
An inning later, Dustin Pedroia sparked a two out rally with a single followed by an Ortiz walk. Up came Gomes, who was hitless in the series. He clubbed the only pitch above his knees 388 feet away into the Red Sox bullpen for a three-run homer making it a 4-1 game.
Clay Buchholz, after all the chatter that he wasn't healthy enough to pitch, let alone start, was fine. Four innings, an unearned run, a few hits and a few walks on 66 pitches. Doubront, again, was awesome. 2.2 innings allowing just a run and retired the first eight batters he faced with relative ease. The run he allowed scored when he was already out of the game. With a runner at first and the tying run at the plate, Junichi Tazawa got Matt Holliday to ground out to end the 7th inning after Breslow allowed an RBI single to Matt Carpenter. Breslow walked Carlos Beltran on four pitches before being removed to set up the Holliday/Tazawa match-up.
In a surprise move, John Farrell went to John Lackey to pitch the 8th. With one out, Xander Bogaerts made a sensational diving play down the third base line on a sharp grounder by Yadier Molina. But a bad throw up the line at first got by the bag into foul territory moving Molina to second. After a wild pitch moved the runner to third, Lackey went to work. He got Jon Jay to pop up to short for the second out. Then retired David Freese on a routine ground ball to shortstop. Trouble averted, AGAIN! Lackey was pitching out of the bullpen for the first time since 2004.
In the 9th, Koji allowed a LONG one out single to Allen Craig that short hopped the right field wall, but because of a bad foot, Craig stopped at 1st. Pinch-runner, and rookie, Kolten Wong came in. Koji got a pop up from Matt Carpenter before postseason stud Carlos Beltran came up representing the tying run. Beltran never had a chance to hit as Wong was picked off at first ending the game with a 4-2 Red Sox win.
Two nights, two improbable finishes. If there was a prop-bet out there that said a game would end on an obstruction call OR a pick off and someone put money on that, that person who laid the bet would be a VERY wealthy person today. How will Game 5 end?! A triple play?! Can't wait to watch.
A rematch of Game 1 will put Jon Lester on the hill against Adam Wainwright. The series is all square 2-2 with one final game in St. Louis before the two teams head back to Boston for Game 6 Wednesday night (at the very least). What was a best-of-seven series, has now turned into a best-of-three.