Home > Game Recaps, MLB > World Series Game Three recap: That has to be the worst pass I’ve ever seen! Ever!

World Series Game Three recap: That has to be the worst pass I’ve ever seen! Ever!

Highest WPA: Xander Bogaerts, .234 (2-4, 3B, R, RBI)
Lowest WPA: Koji Uehara, -.373 (1/3 IP, H)

Over the season, I have had some truly critical words for John Farrell. I’ve occasionally defended him. But tonight… tonight was a new low, one that honestly shocked me.

The game was tied going to the ninth, with the 8-9-1 spots due up. In a National League game, with David Ortiz forced to play first base, “Mike Napoli as a looming pinch-hit threat” was one of the major storylines all night. Hell, it was a consideration even before the series got to St. Louis. So naturally, everyone expected that after Will Middlebrooks made his out, Napoli would take a shot at giving the Sox an extra base hit and sparking a go-ahead inning.

Instead, Brandon Workman hit for himself.

The (weak, foolish, poor) logic seemed to be that Workman could give the Sox two innings, and Koji Uehara could then work the 10th and 11th. Unfortunately, Workman was lifted after one out and a walk in the 9th, and Uehara surrendered a double. And then… deja vu. On a ground ball, Dustin Pedroia got the must-have out at home, and for a split second one thought Koji might get out of it and save Farrell from his mistake (or at least prolong the suspense). Instead, Jarrod Saltalamacchia threw wildly to third base, where Allen Craig tripped over Will Middlebrooks.

In a moment that will be replayed and scrutinized for the next 20 hours, and maybe beyond, umpire Jim Joyce called obstruction on Middlebrooks, awarding Craig home plate even though the throw back in from foul territory managed to beat him. As the play occurred, I expected the game-ending obstruction; the rulebook, however, renders it a judgement call as Middlebrooks could be argued to be trying to make a play. I’d imagine the argument is that his legs flailing in the air after he dove for the throw weren’t part of that effort. And honestly… well, I’ll stick with my first reaction: it seems like the right call.

The decision that should be played again and again, giving no excuse to the questionable thinking involved, is Farrell’s. Or, considering the critical throw from home and past third in Game Two, Saltalamacchia, a guy with a history of trouble throwing accurately, deciding to make the attempt at a third out instead of trusting his pitcher to retire Pete Kozma.

In any event, the Sox just had their biggest loss of the year, squandering Jake Peavy’s rebound after a rough first and Felix Doubront’s relief appearance. It sure felt like one of those classic Red Sox blunders from a “cursed” playoff team, and more than evens the ledger after Game One’s Cardinal miscues. We’ve seen this Boston club take some hard losses and bounce back all year, but can they do it tomorrow?

Until the fifth inning tonight, I honestly expected that John Farrell was planning to start Felix Doubront on Sunday night. Countless reports claim Clay Buchholz hasn’t looked right, even if we believe he feels healthy, and throwing a starter who isn’t 100% in a World Series game, particularly when the alternative is a lefty and your opponent has trouble with lefties, would be an inexcusable managerial mistake. So I figured Farrell knew something the public didn’t, and we’d be getting a surprise starter tomorrow. Now? I’m pretty much resigned to “inexcusable managerial mistake” being the story of the series. But hey, maybe Daniel Nava has played himself into a another start, Xander Bogaerts is gaining confidence, and David Ross might get to give Salty a “mental health day;” the offense could salvage a 2-2 series tie if they get Lance Lynn into a slugfest.

Right now, though, that feels like grasping at straws while numbly absorbing the knowledge that John Farrell and Jarrod Saltalamacchia may have made decisions so indefensible that they cost their team everything in one fateful inning.

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