Just for the moment I’d like to present a Belichickian approach to the Sox success this weekend. Yes, they swept the Yankees; yes they are now at .500; yes the plane trip home was upbeat; BUT, there is plenty of room for improvement.
And this brings me to my moment of angst over the three-game set. Like so many others, I admire and respect Big Papi and all that he has done for the Sox. And notwithstanding his display of ‘hugging’ Yankee fans, he did go 3 for 5 with a homer, double, and single. However, he did make a key mistake that cost the Sox a run early in the game. A mistake on a play that most Little Leaguers are taught to avoid.
Top of the 2nd inning, Youk reaches on a passed ball, Papi singles, Drew walks to load the bases. Lowrie flies out to center with Youk scoring and Papi going to 3rd. Now with one out, runners at 1st and 3rd, Crawford hits a slow roller toward Arod at 3b and Papi breaks for home and is easily out, thus leaving runners at 1st and 2nd with two outs.
I cannot grasp why any major leaguer, particularly one with as many years experience as Big Papi, would make such a blunder. The runner at third should trail the third baseman and force him to throw to 1st base. The runner than has the option of breaking for home or retreating to 3b.
If done properly it results in either, a) the batter is thrown out at 1b and a run scores leaving a runner at 2b with two outs, or b) the batter is thrown out at 1b leaving runners at 2nd and 3rd in scoring position with two outs.
Now some may say that I’m being ‘picky’, but folks, this is ‘execution 101’, In this case, the base running blunder which potentially cost the Sox an additional early run, did not alter the outcome of the game, BUT it easily could have. So again, referencing the Belichickian philosophy, it’s ‘situational baseball’ that should have been covered, at the very least, in Spring Training.
So until the Sox, not just Big Papi, earnestly start paying attention to detail and playing heads-up baseball, I will continue to rail when these sophomoric blunders occur.
Thank you for reading and allowing me to vent. I now feel much better.