ST. LOUIS — Game 3 of the World Series was tied 4-4 in the top of the ninth inning on Saturday night and the Red Sox sent Brandon Workman to the plate.
This would be Brandon Workman, a rookie pitcher who has never had a professional at-bat. Predictably, he struck out.
The Red Sox had three position players — Mike Napoli, David Ross and Quintin Berry — on the bench. Berry is a pinch runner, granted. But, still, two hitters were available.
How could this have happened?
When Workman entered the game to start the eighth inning, Farrell batted him in the ninth spot, where the pitcher had been all game. He should have batted Workman seventh in place of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who made the final out of the top of the eighth inning.
“In hindsight, I probably should have double switched,” Farrell said.
Ross could have batted ninth. But even without the double switch, Napoli should have hit. He was saved for a moment that never came.
Farrell also allowed Workman to start the ninth inning (after a stressful eighth inning) and left Koji Uehara in the bullpen. When Workman allowed a single, Uehara came in then. If Workman was in such a short leash, why did he hit in the ninth?
“I felt we had four outs with Koji, four or five outs,” Farrell said. “If the thought was to go to a two-inning outing for Koji we would have pinch hit for Workman the inning before.”
Had Workman allowed a walk-off home run, the Red Sox would have lost without their best reliever getting in the game. That was a dangerous risk. As it was, Workman put the go-ahead run on base and took the loss.
On Friday, Farrell made a passionate defense of shortstop Stephen Drew, saying the Sox would live with his offensive failings in return for “premium defense.”
Yet after Drew struck out twice, Will Middlebrooks pinch hit for him in the seventh inning. Then in the bottom of the inning, leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter reached on an infield single that Xander Bogaerts, now playing shortstop, circled and made a sidearm throw on.
If Drew’s defense is truly that good, Farrell should stick with him. if not, play Bogaerts at shortstop from the start and be done with it. Farrell tried to play it both ways.
A few other notes:
• It has been a rough two games for Jarrod Saltalamacchia defensively. David Ross is sure to catch Game 4 and perhaps beyond.
• Drew was 0 for 2 and struck out twice. He is 4 for 46 (.087) in the postseason with 17 strikeouts. His value as a free agent is plummeting to a point where you have to wonder if the Red Sox would make him a qualifying offer.
• Lost in the shuffle of the obstruction call is that the Red Sox had six hits. They are hitting .188 in the series and .225 for the postseason. They have faced good pitching, no doubt. But this is not the same team offensively.