Rays-Red Sox Game 5: Cough, Cough, Choke!

Wow. Talk about a meltdown. Which of these men were to blame for allowing the Red Sox to live another day?
Correct answer? All three of them. Nice fat pitch to Ortiz, Balfour! Way to groove one to Drew, Wheels! Congrats on that walkoff to blow the game, Howell! You all belong in the choker’s hall of shame.
But there’s another person who deserves mention here.
Yes, you, Mr. Maddon. Crafty move starting Kazmir, but what were you thinking when you pulled him after six innings? So what if he’d thrown over 100 pitches and sat in the dugout for 31 minutes? He had a two-hit shutout going. Plus, you must have noticed Balfour wasn’t exactly lights out and yet you left him in to pitch to Ortiz instead of calling for a lefty? I know. I’m such a second guesser. But the Rays had the American League pennant sewn up. You realize that, right?
I congratulate Red Sox fans (the ones that didn’t leave Fenway when the score was 7-0) on their team’s latest miraculous comeback. It brings back painful memories of ’04, but I’m trying not to go there.


  1. primomailx@gmail.com

    The Rays relievers were clueless taking the mound. I lay some of the blame on their coaching staff for not preparing them for that situation. All three were aiming the ball and not pitching for the game situation. Bad prep by the Rays coaches.

  2. Jane Heller

    I can’t help going there, loganme. Your Sox haunt my dreams!

    The thing that got me about the relievers, primo, was that they don’t really have a closer anymore, so nobody has a defined role. Plus, in a must-win game Maddon needed to have a quicker hook. When you see a guy not having his stuff and struggling, get him out of there! They had Jackson. They had Price. Come on!

  3. Tucker Elliot

    I’m still stunned. But I think two more names need to go on the “choke” list. B.J. Upton is one, despite his offensive outburst — he should have caught that ball hit by Kotsay, and what the heck was that throw from Gabe Gross about? He’s the other. Should have been a close play at the plate — and then the ball hit by Drew in the ninth, anyone else playing right field catches that ball. Unbelievable.



  4. Jane Heller

    Absolutely, David. Upton looked like he was standing there waiting for the champagne celebration to start. Gross just looked freaked out. And let’s not forget Longoria’s throw after the really good grab. The wheels just came off. It’ll be interesting to see if they regroup tomorrow night or play tight, as they did in Game 1.

  5. Greg

    Was a crazy finish for sure, and Balfour and Wheeler did not pitch well. However, I can’t really say Howell choked. If not for the error, he wouldn’t have even been in that position. He didn’t even actually make a bad pitch to Drew. Drew had a good at bat, and has his number, going like 5-8 against Howell in their careers.

    Not sure why you don’t bring in Price instead of Balfour to start the inning though. That would have been a nice spot for Price to get some meaningful big league work in. Plus, he is light’s out.

    Oh well, now we see what magic can happen Saturday.

    Red Sox Ramblings: http://thevendahhh.mlblogs.com

  6. Jane Heller

    I agree totally about Price. If he’s as lights out as advertised, why not use him in that game? Didn’t remember about Drew’s numbers against Howell. Well, everything just went right for the Sox and wrong for the Rays in the end. You must be a very happy camper, Greg!

  7. jimmy27nyy

    Hey, Jane …

    Well, all I can say about Game 5 of the Sox / Rays series is that it was a great game, the Red Sox just didn’t give up, and it is the greatest comeback in playoff history [second greatest since the A’s comeback in Game 4 of the 1929 World Series] … We have to give credit to the Red Sox for winning a big game … But, I agree with you Jane, regarding Joe Maddon taking Scott Kazmir out of the game after only 6 innings … He was pitching a two-hit shutout, with seven strikeouts, and I think if Kazmir pitched [at least] one more inning, the Rays would have won the game, and we would be talking about a Rays / Phillies World Series right now … Oh, well, we have to wait one [or, two] more days, but I still think the Rays will win the American League Championship, and we can start talking about a Rays / Phillies World Series next week !!! … Jimmy [27NYY]


  8. Jane Heller

    I agree, Jimmy. We have to give credit to the Red Sox. They do have the comeback gene in their DNA. I think everyone will be watching tonight’s game to see if the Rays are crushed by Beckett and the circumstances of their Thursday loss or if they can rebound. Should be interesting!

  9. Elizabeth D

    Thank you, and it’s pretty easy to tell that you’re passionate about your Yankees too! I like your blog. Us she-fans do have to stick together! Enjoy the game!

  10. Jane Heller

    I’ll definitely enjoy the game, redsoxgirl, even if your team does give me heart attacks. Their comebacks are killing me!

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