Home > Game Recaps, MLB > World Series Game Four recap: Jonnys Gomes and Wholestaff

World Series Game Four recap: Jonnys Gomes and Wholestaff

Highest WPA: Jonny Gomes, .344 (1-2, HR, 2 BB, 3 RBI)
Lowest WPA: Craig Breslow, -.105 (2 batters faced, allowed single and walk)

Finally, an unforced throw ends poorly for the Cardinals.

After last night’s walkoff mistake by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Breslow’s fateful airmail in Game Two, who thought Koji Uehara would risk firing to first with the tying run at the plate? Apparently, Kolten Wong ruled it out, as he was caught leading away from the bag with playoff legend Carlos Beltran at the plate. Last night was the first World Series game to end with obstruction; tonight, it was the first decisive pickoff.

They wouldn’t have gotten to that point, however, without the improbable heroics of Jonny Gomes’ three-run homer (which was preceded by David Ortiz leading a dugout huddle, so we can deflect some credit from one of this blog’s favorite targets, right?). Just as impressive were the relief appearances by some unexpected heroes. Clay Buchholz keeping a tie through four was all we could have asked for, and we got it; what followed went above and beyond. Felix Doubront, working consecutive days for the first time since the Francona days, was dominant, striking out 3 and walking none of the 9 batters he faced. He gave up one hit, which brought in Breslow, whose performance was again so poor you have to think Doubront may get some of his setup work when the series goes back to Fenway. Junichi Tazawa bailed the Sox out of the jam, but was lifted in a double switch when the Sox had a chance to add an insurance run. That brought in John Lackey, who was supposed to be available but expected to act as depth rather than the eighth-inning man in a two-run game.

The move was widely second-guessed (I, for one, was pretty neutral, given the alternatives), but Lackey came up big, working around an error and wild pitch to keep the Cardinals scoreless for a 17 pitch inning. It doesn’t figure to impact his availability for Game Six, given he was supposed to throw today anyway, but even if it does, it was a performance you honestly couldn’t have asked for from the remaining bullpen options.

So… Jonny Gomes is a key offensive cog, and Felix Doubront is an indispensable part of the pitching. Not exactly what we expected. But hey, I’ll gladly take being wrong when it means a Red Sox win; if Ryan Dempster gets big outs tomorrow and Jarrod Saltalamacchia drives in a key run, we’re way too late in the season to complain about improbable events teaching John Farrell the wrong lesson. Instead, it’s all about results, and tonight, the Red Sox evened the series thanks to unforeseeable contributions and a rookie baserunning mistake for the ages.

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