The good, bad and the ugly from a tough, tough loss last night. My dreams of a perfect 12-0 Red Sox winning streak in the World Series have been shattered.

The Highlights:

- David Ortiz is in complete postseason beast mode right now. That’s two games and two home runs, and another that Carlos Beltran robbed in game one. The fact that he ‘only’ hit a single in the eighth inning had to be a huge relief for Cardinals fans. Also, add another iconic postseason home run to the Ortiz highlight reel.

- How crazy would you have seemed before the season if you predicted that John Lackey would be walking off the mound of a World Series game in Fenway to a standing ovation? We have to remember to look back and appreciate how hard he’s worked to get back to this level. He’s also gone from Boston pariah to postseason clutch performer in the blink of an eye. Lackey has really been an integral part of the rotation this year, an amazing turnaround after missing all of 2012.

- Xander Bogaerts remains a shining ball of awesome wrapped in an attractive, toolsy package. I find myself looking forward to his at bats more than anyone on the team other than Ortiz. He struck out twice on changeups, but it’s amazing to see how advanced his approach has been after being more of a hacker in his early years in the Red Sox system.

Oh, and this is a pretty decent list to be on:

 

The Lowlights:

- John Farrell’s over-reliance on Jonny Gomes’ magical intangible powers finally bit the Red Sox. Gomes has done little at the plate so far in two games, and his defense has been a bit suspect as well. When a manager plays a hunch over an obvious platoon advantage and it works, he looks great. When he sticks with it despite obvious opportunities to make a change it becomes maddening.

I thought he should have pinch hit Daniel Nava for Gomes to lead off the ninth inning of game two in the ALCS. In that situation, at least I could see the arguments on both sides. Nava had the advantage as a lefthanded hitter against Rick Porcello, but Gomes has more power and could have ended the game with one swing. Farrell stayed with Gomes, and the decision paid off.

Has anyone seen this man? Photo by Kelly O'Connor of sittingstill.smugmug.com

Has anyone seen this man? Photo by Kelly O’Connor of sittingstill.smugmug.com

In last night’s game, the decision to leave Gomes in to face Trevor Rosenthal in the ninth inning made zero sense. Trailing by two runs, the Sox had to get someone on base to bring the tying run to the plate. Nava has the second highest on base percentage on the team, and hit .322 on the season against right handed pitchers. He’s the guy on the team most likely to get on base in that situation, and that’s what the Red Sox needed right then.

Gomes is a better baserunner than Nava, but Quintin Berry is on the bench for just those situations. I tried to give Farrell the benefit of the doubt by wondering if Nava was hurt, but two batters later there he was pinch-hitting for Stephen Drew. If Nava isn’t starting in game three, I might toss my remote against the wall.

- Speaking of Stephen Drew, did he fall into the Springfield Mystery Spot without anyone noticing? He’s been absolutely atrocious offensively, a fact I’m sure gets tons attention on Boston talk radio. I guess he’s in there for his defense at this point, but I’m wondering if we see Bogaerts at shortstop and Will Middlebrooks at third in game three.

- I was waiting for the Michael Wacha draft meme to pop up, and Joe Buck and Tim McCarver didn’t disappoint. “Boy, can you believe major league teams thought 18 other players were better than this guy?” Chuckle, chuckle, other baseball teams sure are dumb and the Cardinals are smart.

I spend way, way too many hours following baseball prospects, and this narrative ignores so many factors it drives me crazy. 12 of those 18 players drafted before Wacha in 2012 were high school players. Comparing a high school senior to a college junior is like comparing apples to screwdrivers.

The top two players taken in that draft, Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton, both tore up two minor league levels at an age when Wacha was playing as a freshman at Texas A&M. It’s possible that Wacha has a better major league career than anyone else from that 2012 class, but my money is on the field.

The scouting report Ken Rosenthal mentioned still exists. Wacha doesn’t really have a third pitch, so the fastball and changeup have to be devastating for him to succeed. So far they have been. But the Red Sox did have noticeably better at bats the more they saw him last night.

Hey, did you know Wacha and Middlebrooks are both from Texarkana, TX? #headdesk

- The Cardinals bullpen looks tough, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal were filthy last night. The Red Sox managed to beat the Tigers by feasting off their bullpen. It looks like they’re going to need to score runs against the starters if they hope to beat the Cardinals.

Game three is Saturday night in St. Louis. Let’s go Sox, #getbeard, and enjoy the ride.

 

Categories: 2013 ALCS 2013 Boston Red Sox 2013 World Series Carlos Beltran Daniel Nava David Ortiz John Lackey Michael Wacha Will Middlebrooks Xander Bogaerts

I've been a Red Sox fan since before birth, as my mom was watching the '75 World Series while pregnant with me. 1986 was a major life trauma, but I have always been a fan who believed that "next year" was the year. That faith was finally rewarded in 2004, and again in 2007, coincidentally the last 2 years that I have seen games in Fenway Park. I now follow the Sox from Texas, and love that I will see them in person in Houston this season. Follow Josh on Twitter here

9 Responses to “Game 2 Thoughts” Subscribe

  1. John E Fly October 25, 2013 at 2:09 PM #

    Any blog post that references the Springfield Mystery Spot gets my approval.  Well done sir!

  2. Josh Cookson October 25, 2013 at 3:01 PM #

    I was going to reference “Hail Ants” due to James Taylor singing the National Anthem but ran out of room.

  3. Shane P October 25, 2013 at 3:53 PM #

    Great post Josh!  Go Sox!

  4. CookieJenn October 25, 2013 at 4:26 PM #

    Please don’t throw the remote at the walls…they were just painted.   I don’t get most of your article, but enjoy the screwdrivers and headdesk.   The toolsy package deserves an honorable mention as well.   Go Sox!

  5. New Lyndsay October 25, 2013 at 5:10 PM #

    My thoughts:  1. the media angle of the Boston Beards vs. the Clean-Cut Cardinals is officially a FAIL. You cannot claim you’re a “clean cut” team when EVERY PLAYER ON YOUR ROSTER ASIDE FROM MATT HOLLIDAY HAS A BEARD AND NEEDS A HAIRCUT.  2.  For the life of me, I cannot tell that Cardinals infield apart.  The team consists of one of the brothers Molina, Beltran, the aforementioned Holliday and about 10 clones of the werewolf from True Blood.  I think Fox Sports should put its efforts towards a guide to telling Kozma and Carpenter apart, because the first game I swore up and down they were twins. 3. Michael Wacha is 22. Carlos Martinez is 22. Xavier Bogarts is 21. They are very young. Let’s all acknowledge this fact and then MOVE THE FUCK ON.

  6. New Lyndsay October 25, 2013 at 5:11 PM #

    Jesus did I just write Xavier? Dammit.  I just Menino’d that.

  7. BACowett October 25, 2013 at 6:17 PM #

    New Lyndsay Not sure how I should feel since I got the “werewolf from True Blood” reference.

  8. Josh Cookson October 26, 2013 at 12:26 PM #

    CookieJenn I figured the wall was better than the tv.

  9. Josh Cookson October 26, 2013 at 12:26 PM #

    New Lyndsay Good point on the Cardinals beards. When they had Descalso at third, I couldn’t tell the difference between him and Kozma and Carpenter.