Saturday, October 4, 2008

ALDS Game 2: Sox 7, Angels 5

I'm very much enjoying the Division series home run chase, with Manny Ramirez and Jason Bay tied for the lead at 2. Also, it looks like I wasn't insane when I was legitimately happy that JD Drew was back.

One quibble with Francona last night. With the Sox leading 5 - 3 in the 7th, he brings in Masterson. Fine. Masterson then gives up a run and manages to get out of a bases loaded jam, and obviously doesn't look too good in the process -- several walks, including one that forced in the run, and several balls hit in the air, which is a bad sign for a sinker ball pitcher.

Turn to the 8th inning now, still 5 - 4, and Francona brings Masterson back out to start the 8th. He immediately gives up a leadoff triple, so Papelbon is brought in. Here's what I'm wondering -- if Papelbon was warmed up and ready to go, and you were already prepared to pitch him for two full innings, why not just have him start the 8th? You had days off both before and after this game, so this isn't a rest issue. Further, it seems like a 1 one lead with 2 innings to go is exactly the sort of time you'd want your best pitcher in the game. Papelbon pitched great, of course, but the leadoff triple did score to tie the game (which is why a blown-save is the only stat dumber than the save itself). JD Drew's homer in the 9th means few people will talk about this decision, but if this game had gone into extra innings, and/or the Angels had won, that decision to have Masterson start the 8th would come under more scrutiny.

Game 3 is slated for a 7:17 first pitch at Fenway on Sunday; Beckett reportedly had a good side session the other day, so he's ready to go.