It’s easy to make too much of a single move in a postseason game. Taking a pitcher out one batter too late or sending a runner home on a long fly can have huge consequences. But if we step back and breathe deeply, we know a baseball game is too long, with too many moving parts, to ever truly be decided by any single event. Still, Thursday evening’s Red Sox-Indians game, the first of a five-game set, offered an easily graspable handle for those looking to turn that narrative crank.
It also offered a clear rebuttal to Buck Showalter’s highly-questionable choice during Tuesday’s Wild Card game to save Super Closer and Cy Young candidate Zach Britton for a save situation that, at least in part due to his very decision, never arrived. It’s not apples to apples, but Showalter’s refusal to use Britton because he might need him later stood in stark contrast–a black hole in the sun kind of contrast–to Terry Francona’s bullpen usage, and, to only a slightly lesser extent, John Farrell’s.
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