Any shot the Boston Red Sox had of seizing some momentum during Game 6 of the ALCS on Friday night in Houston was lost on a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play to end the top of the seventh.
The Red Sox were down 2-0 to the Astros in Game 6 and facing elimination down 3-2 in the series. They struggled offensively all night against starter Luis Garcia. It wasn’t until the seventh that Boston had multiple runners on base during an inning.
The Sox had runners on the corners following a walk and single. Travis Shaw came in to pinch-hit with one out. The Red Sox put Verdugo in motion on the 3-2 pitch to Shaw. Not only did Shaw strike out for the second out, but Martin Maldonado gunned down Verdugo at second to end the inning.
It was a huge play that ensured the Astros maintained all momentum and hurt Boston’s comeback chances.
Why was Verdugo thrown out on the play? FS1’s John Smoltz showed on replay that Verdugo got a poor lead and had little momentum before trying to steal.
Even if Verdugo were taking a “walking lead,” he still didn’t get far enough before taking off.
Some will question Red Sox manager Alex Cora for sending Verdugo in the first place. It’s a fair criticism, but there are multiple reasons to explain the move. Putting Verdugo in motion decreased the chances of a ground-ball double play; increased the chances of Verdugo scoring on a hit to tie the game and he would have been shielded from being thrown out in the case of a walk. The downside was a double play on a lineout, or the dreaded strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play, which is the worst possible outcome.
The Red Sox just happened to get the worst outcome when it clearly wasn’t their night. They lost 5-0.Internet Explorer Channel Network