Home > Game Recaps, MLB > Red Sox ALDS Game 4 recap: *slow clap*

Red Sox ALDS Game 4 recap: *slow clap*

Highest WPA: Xander “GET ME SOME DAMN STARTS” Bogaerts, .288 (2 BB, 2 R)
Lowest WPA: Stephen “SERIOUSLY, I CANNOT HIT LEFTIES, PLEASE STOP HAVING ME TRY”, -.187 (0-2, 3 LOB)

I think Joe Maddon outwitted himself.

Look, I get that his shifts (which other teams have slowly made the norm) work way more often than they fail. I get that the “bullpen game” for the Rays only allowed 3 runs. But… well, I was hard on one inning of decisions for John Farrell yesterday, so this is more than fair: why pull Matt Moore?

The lefty held the Sox to a walk and a hit with three strikeouts in two innings. And as we saw when Alex Torres and Jake McGee succeeded him, the Red Sox continued to struggle against lefties (for what it’s worth: unless Tommy Milone gets a call, the Red Sox will face only righty starters through the ALCS). So why pull Moore so fast? Ultimately, the result was that righties like Joel Peralta got into the game sooner, and… we saw what happened.

Maybe Moore would’ve gotten lit up in his third inning. Who knows? But this isn’t just hindsight; as the pitching changes played out, I quickly went from this to this. And as soon as a righty came in in the 7th, the Red Sox scored their first run. Pulling a struggling Jeremy Hellickson was a fine move for Maddon; pulling a thriving Moore, however… that’s always going to be a blemish on his strong managerial record, in my mind. For that matter, if your leash for Hellickson is that short, let Chris Archer start.

But hey, this is a Red Sox blog, and let’s not just put this all on the Rays’ shortcomings; Boston executed really well in those final three frames, with Bogaerts getting on and the top of the lineup getting him in. Craig Breslow had the game of his life, striking out four of six batters and retiring Delmon Young after everyone in the world expected a right-hander to come in. Koji Uehara got a four-out save punctuated by terrifying any small children still awake. And now, Jon Lester will start the ALCS against whomever the Tigers or Athletics have rested by Saturday.

Congratulations, Red Sox. This season’s already exceeded any realistic expectations, and you’ve got a good chance to take it even farther.

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