WS Game 4: One Fell Swoop
by Charlie Blasberg on Sunday, October 27th, 2013
Yet another struggling Red Sock came to the rescue tonight in the form of Jonny Gomes. He was 0-9 in the first two games of the World Series and lost his starting job to Daniel Nava in Game 3. However, Gomes is one of the ultimate clutch members of this Red Sox squad. He hit a league-leading 4 pinch-hit home runs in the regular season and was a staple to the Red Sox’ “never say die” attitude. All it took tonight was one slider that Seth Maness left up in zone and one swing of the bat, and Jonny Gomes had given the Red Sox all the runs they needed for the game.
The Red Sox maintained many of the same positives that they left last night’s loss with. Firstly, David Ortiz. He has a .727 batting average in this World Series. No one can get him out. Enough said. Secondly, the production out of the middle of the order continued to be superb tonight. 4,5, and 6 hitters, Ortiz, Gomes, and Bogaerts, went 5 for 10 tonight with a combined 3 RBIs, 3 runs and 4 walks. This type of danger throughout the batting order will be important going forward for the Red Sox. Despite key performances by Pedroia and Ortiz, the Red Sox are hitting just .189 as a team. Tonight showed signs of the bats throughout the order starting to warm up, but there is still much room for improvement. Thirdly, Felix “Doobie” Doubront pitched lights out. He went 2 2/3 innings, allowing just 1 run (it was an inherited runner that Breslow let score) and striking out 3. Doubront worked with a fast pace and retired his first 8 Cardinals.
Clay Buchholz pitched well. He allowed just one unearned run in the second. Other than that, he sat down the Cardinals’ lineup although is fastball rarely hit 90 mph. With limited velocity, Buchholz’s pitches’ movement and placement down in the zone was the key factor that led him to be so effective. It was a good start, but it was nothing heroic. It wasn’t like Pedro coming out of the bullpen in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS against the Indians to pitch six innings of no-hit ball, after not even being able to throw that morning. It wasn’t like Schilling’s bloody sock in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS or Game 2 of the World Series. But Buchholz was good for 4 innings and did the job the Red Sox needed him to do.
What’s with all these errors? The Red Sox have committed errors in 5 straight games. Breslow’s (more on him later) throwing error in Game 2 cost a run. Saltalamacchia’s error in Game 3 cost the game. Ellsbury’s bobble in center tonight led to a run as well. Isn’t this supposed to be the World Series- the best baseball in the world? The Red Sox have averaged 2 errors per night in this World Series. Based on that statistic, it is amazing that they are still in this thing. Two errors a night! That is abysmal. Not only have the Red Sox looked awful while committing these errors, but they have cost the Red Sox essentially the two games that they lost. Eliminate the errors, or pack your bags, Red Sox, you’ll be starting the offseason with a bitter taste in your mouths.
Breslow can’t handle the big dance. He did not allow a run through both the ALDS and ALCS, and he seemed virtually unhittable. However, in this World Series, he has an ERA of 54.00. He cannot find the plate, he gets behind in counts, and as a result, he either gives up walks or hits. Let Breslow rest tomorrow night. Use Tazawa or Dempster instead. Let Breslow collect himself and whatever is causing this sudden failure. Let him find his groove again in Game 6 in front of the Fenway Faithful.
Although Game 5 is the same pitching matchup as Game 1, I expect tomorrow night to be much closer. Jon Lester will pitch well again, and the hitters will come through again. The Red Sox will win, but it will be close, and it will require clutch hitting from the middle and bottom of the lineup. The lovable idiots will tug their beards back to Fenway for an all-important Game 6 on Wednesday night.
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