Monday, October 28, 2013

"It's the pitching, stupid."

For all the shenanigans that went on last night, from the successful Big Papi pep talk to the game-ending pickoff of Kolten Wong, it would be easy to forget the most important piece of the victory. To paraphrase former President Bill Clinton, "It's the pitching, stupid."

The storyline coming into the game was all Clay Buchholz all the time. Buchholz had infamously declared that he thought he had "one more start" in him, and the internet went absolutely wild with speculation over his velocity and effectiveness before he ever took the mound.

Once he made it out onto the field, all the doom and gloom predictors took one look at the radar gun as confirmation of their worst fears. Buchholz hit 90 mph just a handful of times, but he allowed only a single run (unearned) in four full innings. As John Farrell said, "he gave us everything he could."

After Buchholz left, Felix Doubront came in, pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, and earned the win. Many of us scratched our heads when Farrell pulled Doubront in favor of Craig Breslow - the biggest error of the night, as it turned out, because Breslow immediately allowed an inherited runner to score.

But then Junichi Tazawa came in and put out the fire, allowing the Red Sox to escape the seventh inning with their lead intact.

Game 6 starter John Lackey came in for the eighth inning, faced four batters, and held the lead for Koji Uehara, who picked off Wong to end the game.

It was a true team effort, and I want to make sure none of these contributions get overlooked. Buchholz's gutsy start fell far short of his regular season standard, but he battled harder than any starter I've seen this postseason.

John Lackey was on his side day, so his pitching an inning won't effect his ability to start on Wednesday - but the difference between throwing a side session in the bullpen and a meaningful eight inning in a World Series game cannot be overstated. Though it's been nine years since Lackey threw a pitch in relief (to David Ross, of all people), he handled it like the professional he is.

Doubront was fantastic, Tazawa reliable - and of course, Koji Uehara was excellent.

After a night where Jonny Gomes was the main story, there wouldn't be a story at all without the combined efforts of Buchholz, Doubront, Lackey, Tazawa, and Uehara. It was the pitching, stupid.

1 comment:

  1. John Lackey is one of the biggest jerks not only in but in the whole universe. The douchebag left his wife who was battling with cancer. What can you say of a piece of garbage like this? I root for nothing but failure for him.