It was so predictable…
[Walk-Off Update Below]
Tim Wakefield made an emergency start today in place of the ailing Clay Buchholz and delivered a shutout through five innings and the Sox had a 2-0 lead against last year’s Cy Young winner, Felix Hernandez. As the top of the sixth inning started I thought to myself — if Wake puts anyone on, Terry Francona would yank him for Bobby Jenks, who will promptly surrender the lead. And that’s exactly what happened. Why was this so predictable? Because Francona has an obsessive need to demonstrate faith in his struggling players — and Jenks has been struggling.
I like Francona, and think he is one of the best managers baseball. His philosophy is that it is a long season and the Sox will need all their players. But this sometimes causes him to overly manage for tomorrow and not for a win today. The Sox have lost four of their last five games and need a win. Defeating one of the league’s best pitchers would have also been a big morale boost. As I write this, the game is tied 2-2 in the top of the 9th inning. It’s possible Red Sox will still win this game. But Francona had to stubbornly put Jenks in and stick with him even after he loaded the bases, then walked in two runs. Matt Albers, by the way, pitched two scoreless innings after this debacle.
And today is Vermont Day at Fenway Park! Thanks, Terry.
UPDATE: Then again, maybe Terry is a genius. Ichiro mis-plays a line-drive from Jed Lowrie who ends up on 3rd base, with one out. After Marco Scutaro hits the first pitch he sees for a harmless out that doesn’t score the run, Carl Crawford steps up to the plate and hits a game-winning single up the middle. This could be good for morale too.