Somebody's got to say it. Had Wednesday night's game been played on June 23, 1980, the Red Sox would have won it.
Daniel Bard would never have come out, period. Here's a guy who had just retired four men on 13 pitches, a guy who had everything going, which means his 100 mph heater, his slider and his change. They could not have hit him had he stood out there as long as it took John Isner to defeat Nicholas Mahout. But he was never staying in, not in the year 2010.
I'm not knocking Terry Francona. He was only doing what all modern managers do. You have set-up man, and you have a closer, and that's that. Once Jonathan Papelbon got up, you knew he had to come in.
But isn't it stupid? I mean, Bard had thrown 13 pitches! He was at the absolute top of his game. I wish some manager would step back, take a look at this particular situation and admit that what that they all do in this era of Creeping LaRussaization is maybe not always the way to go.
I'm not saying this because Papelbon blew the game. There was no reason to expect that sort of implosion. He's been pitching pretty well. The issue on Wednesday wasn't Papelbon, although yes, there still is an issue with Papelbon (six home runs in 29 innings?). The issue is not following your eyes and your common sense, rather than the book.
People have overcomplicated baseball. That's the real issue.