The Wake Up Call: An Obstruction that Cost the Game

obstruction

Game 3, bottom of the ninth, Allen Craig stumbles over Will Middlebrooks and third base umpire, Jim Joyce signaled for obstruction

It was a night to remember for sure. I, unfortunately, did not watch the game, but I surely got a wake up call. It was 10:00 in the morning; yes, call me an unsupportive Red Sox fan, but due to unfortunate circumstances in more ways than one, I did not know what happened until my phone rang this morning and there was a very livid Red Sox fan on the other side. Truly, I thought someone had died! “You don’t know what happened?” He asked in a very frustrated, annoyed and anxious voice. “What!?” It took him a moment to get it out. My hands began to shake and my heart began to race. Knowing after a moment he was referring to last night’s game, I replied, “Did somebody get hurt?” ” I can’t believe you don’t know what happened, but no, no one got hurt.” “Well thank God for that.”

It was the bottom of the ninth and Pedroia made an astonishing play to get Yadier Molina of the Cardinals out at home. Saltalamacchia proceeded to atempt a double play and threw to Middlebrooks at third to make the second out. Middlebrooks unfortunately fell to the ground in lieu of Salty’s throw, but the play was made by backup Daniel Nava no matter. “Safe!” gestured the home plate umpire, Dana DeMuth . Craig blatantly was not safe, but the third base umpire, Jim Joyce, claimed Middlebrooks had obstructed the runner’s passage. This was not the result all of Boston fans wanted.

There were other moments in the game and other decisions that were made to cause anxiety for us fans, but the final call was just too much for some of us to handle, including my friend on the other side of the phone this morning. For instance, where was Mike Napoli when we needed him? Benched!? Why did Farrell put Workman in the lineup when he could have easily replaced him with Napoli, a much stronger hitter? 1,2,3 strikes he’s out. Workman didn’t just strike out, but he struck out looking.

2-1 Cardinals. Again, these teams – the Red Sox and the Cardinals – and specifically the umpires are not making  this easy for us Bostonians to stomach. The question now is, will the Red Sox persevere or will they crumble? I don’t even think this is a question of concern. The Sox don’t have defeatist attitudes. In fact they have quite the opposite. If anything they may lose one more game to keep us on the edge of our seats, but that’s as far as it goes. They are a strong bunch of guys and they don’t lose easily. They will persevere and fight to the final inning of the final game back home, in Boston.

So fans, prepare yourselves for the roller coaster ride of your life. There are potentially four games left of the series. We’re not even half way through. Let’s keep the energy flowing and forget about what happened, bad call or not, it happened.

Jonny Come Never? Time to bench Gomes

Beard Gomes

I love Jonny Gomes. I’ll love him even more on the bench for Game 3 in St. Louis.

Forget the fact the Sox are 6-1 when he starts this postseason. Forget all the intangibles. The beer helmet. His humor. Heck, let’s even forget his beard.

We need to focus on one thing here — his production.

Or, lack thereof. Gomes is 0-for-7 in this World Series with a strikeout. He hit .188 in the ALCS against Detroit and .222 in the divisional round against Tampa.

And before we crown him Mr. October, he doesn’t have a World Series ring and is batting .128 (5-for-39) with two RBI and 12 strikeouts in three years of postseason baseball. He was 0-for-7 with three strikeouts with Cincinnati and Oakland heading into this October.

And it’s not as if his defense is a good enough reason to leave his ailing bat in the lineup (ala Stephen Drew at shortstop).

It’s time for Daniel Nava to get back into the lineup. He’s simply better than Gomes. He batted .303 this regular season (to Gomes’ .247), and is at a .308 clip this postseason (4-for-13). He’s better than Gomes in left field, too.

This isn’t a Gomes Hate Campaign. It’s just time to realize that production is more important than “presence,” especially on the biggest stage.

Further, Gomes had four homers and seven RBI this season in pinch-hit roles. If we need him late in the game, he’s a good option off the bench — but certainly second behind Mike Napoli, who unfortunately will be on the bench for Game 3 with Big Papi having to play first without a DH.

I agree Jonny’s presence helps the team — but, right now, his presence in one important area is killing the Sox — in the batter’s box.