The Red Sox beat the Rays in 10 innings yesterday 2-1.
A very satisfying pitchers duel between reigning Cy Young winner David Price and Sox ace Jon Lester. Price, who has struggled this season, always brings his A game to Boston. And Lester seems to have shrugged off the funk of last season, either due to the return of his old pitching coach in new manager Farrell or the removal of several clubhouse cancers in the off season.
Whatever the reasons, both pitchers were at their best and it was one of those classic games that you love to watch, no matter who you're rooting for. My big gripe came in the bottom of the 10th.
Jacoby Elsbury got on base, then stole third on an errant throw by the Rays catcher. With Shane Victorino at bat, Ray's manager Joe Maddon goes to home plate to clear his decision with the umpire to bring Matt Joyce in from the outfield to create a five-man infield.
Here's my thing -- this isn't Game 7 of the World Series here! We're 10 games into a 162 game season and Maddon's playing this like it's the deciding game on the fate of humanity! Seriously?! You brag all off season about your talented fielders, then don't trust them to make a simple infield play in late innings?!
This is some beer league, video game bullsh*t right here! This isn't Moneyball or Theo Epstein bringing in a Gold Glove infield to back up ground ball pitcher Derek Lowe or anything like that. What's next? Five outfielders? Three guys in right field when Papi's at bat? This is a perversion of statistical analysis applied to managing.
In the paper the other day, they were speaking about the Rays new decision making on infield alignments and how they're using data trends on hitters to decide where to position their fielders. The whole idea of the prototype baseball infield is that the field is effectively covered by the four infielders and the pitcher. If your guys are even remotely talented and athletic, they can cover the area and make plays. With this kind of video game managing, they guys look like fools when a batter hits one where, say, the second baseman should have been standing had Maddon not put him on top of the bag or something.
I get it, Joe Maddon's a smart guy. He wears trendy geeky glasses, he quotes philosophers in post game conferences. Just manage the game, dude! I'm glad the Rays lost in this case, this isn't the way the game should be played, imho.
And here's Jordan Carver looking pensive as she thinks on what I've just said as well as pondering the perils of the global shortage of bikini materials for full figured young ladies . . .