“I don’t even know what happened actually.” – Carlos Beltran.
That’s coming from a guy in his 16th year in the league who just played in his 48th postseason game of his career. Beltran’s been around the game for a while and he’s never seen an ending quite like the one at Busch Stadium on Saturday. In fact, in the 108 previous World Series in baseball history, no game has ever ended like Game 3 on the 2013 Fall Classic. That’s what makes baseball (and sports) so special. You can never predict what is going to happen.
An obstruction call is a tough way to decide a game but I do believe it was the right call. Based on Rule 7.06, the runner was obstructed from running home, whether Middlebrooks meant to do it or not. The call was also made right away at third. Like I said, it’s a tough way to decide a game, especially one as fantastic as this one, but rules are rules.
After the call, chaos ensued as the Red Sox came out to argue while the Cardinals celebrated. Fans in the stands didn’t even know why their team had won. Without a doubt, it was one of the most bizarre endings to a game that I’ve ever witnessed. The Red Sox have now lost 2 games in this series thanks to errant throws to third base.
While the obstruction call stole all of the headlines, this game was so much more than that. The biggest takeaway for me is that John Farrell got completely outmanaged by Mike Matheny. He was completely in over of his head dealing with the pitcher’s spot in the order and he ended up leaving Napoli on the bench for the entire game. Meanwhile, he let a relief pitcher hit in a tie game in the 9th, only to take him out after 1 out the following inning. Farrell also admitted that he should have double-switched Saltalamacchia out for David Ross when he brought in Workman. Those mistakes are inexcusable and they played a large role in the Red Sox losing the game.
Baseball is exponentially more fun in a national league park, at least for me. The absence of the DH complicates things and it requires so much more strategy and forethought. It’s like playing chess while the other manager is playing checkers. Farrell’s inexperience with the National League style of play hurt the Red Sox big time and he needs to figure it out fast or this series will never make it back to Boston.
The drama was building all night with big hits and outs from rookies and veterans alike. Game 3 will always be remembered for its unique ending but it was a fantastic baseball game all around. It was a reminder of what makes the game so entertaining and it’s what we should show those who claim baseball is “boring.”
Both teams now have to put the obstruction call behind them and focus on Game 4. You can bet that tonight’s game will be just as close and intense. This has been a fantastic World Series to cap off a phenomenal postseason and the rest of this series is going to be electric.