Yes the Boston bullpen was incindiary again, but Terry Francona probably cost his club the game last night with his managing in the bottom of the 9th.
Ortiz led off with a hustling double. Now, hurray for Ortiz busting his tail and knowing how bad Bernie’s arm is in right, but I was dumb-founded to see him NOT being pinch-run for once he got to second. (and boo on Joe Morgan and Jon Miller for not mentioning it). I know Alex Gonzalez didn’t start the game due to back spasms, but was he unable to even pinch-run? How about a pitcher pinch-running?
Ramirez was (correctly) intentionally walked, bringing up Youkilis (who Miller and Morgan thankfully pointed out hadn’t laid down a sac bunt since the minors). Youkilis is an moderate flyball hitter (.63 G/F ratio this year), with only 10 GIDPs on the year, yet Francona has him bunt.
Now, let’s just say that Youkilis didn’t bunt … what other outcomes might have occurred?
a) 6-4-3 DP with Ortiz (or a better runner) ending up on 3rd with two out … not too likely, but not crushing either … a hit or passed ball/wild pitch still wins it.
b) a deep fly ball to right allowing Ortiz (or a better runner) to advance to 3rd with only 1 out … possible, as Youkilis has enough bat control and flyball tendencies to sky one to weak-armed Williams. Then you can win it on a sac fly or basehit.
c) a strikeout … well, Youkilis DOES strike out once every 5 ABs. Same impact as a failed sac bunt, except you still have Ortiz (or a better runner) on 2nd.
d) a basehit … any decent hit to the outfield should score against the Yankees’ weak arms (especially if Ortiz is pinchrun for).
But back to reality, the Yankees are prepped for a bunt. Ortiz, perhaps a bit winded after his hustle double, will need to hustle some more even if Youkilis make a good bunt.
Youkilis bunts the first pitch he sees, and Rivera pounces on it immediately and fires to third to easily get Ortiz. You’ve just given up an out, and momentum.
The rest of the inning plays out dramatically, but the damage was self-inflicted in that one AB.
"Following Tuesday night’s 6-4 loss to the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, Piniella announced that he would start one of his relievers for Wednesday’s game and bring in scheduled starter Casey Fossum in the third, so he could be around for the eighth inning.
"Here’s what we’re going to do: I’m going to start relievers and my starters are coming in the third inning," Piniella said in his postgame talk. "That’s the end of that. I made up my mind and that’s what we’re going to do. People are going to think I’m crazy, but we’re just going to try it."
You may not admire Piniella for trying this, but when you are 30 games under .500 and its only the first week of July, you gotta try something ….
On a less-serious note, perhaps Piniella will allow one of his bench coaches to manage the first two innings, and then turn the reins back over to Lou for the final 7?
"Moved from the leadoff spot to seventh in the batting order, Reyes reached on an infield single, stole second and scored on a single by pinch hitter Jose Offerman in the ninth inning to snap a 2-2 tie. Cameron and Beltran added two-out RBIs singles off Sun-Woo Kim (1-1).
Cameron batted in the leadoff spot for the second time this season."
Halleluah …. the .276 OBP has been replaced by the .387 OBP at the top of the lineup (although Cameron DOES strike out a HECK of a lot for a leadoff guy). The truth of the matter is, until Reyes learns some plate discipline, the Mets don’t have anyone on their roster who really qualifies as a true leadoff man.