When the decision was made to try out Bruce Rondon as the closer back in January I was worried because he had never pitched in the majors let alone as a closer. In the 100 plus year history of baseball no team has won a World Series with a 22 year old closer. They had a chance to sign numerous free agents who had relief experience, especially with Octavio Dotel being hurt, and chose not to. The regular season proved the mistake in that thinking and now after dominating the first two games for 16 innings the Detroit Tigers regular season failures in the bullpen continued.
The Boston Red Sox had shown no signs of life the first game in a half and then the momentum swung to their side in what can only be described as a mistake filled 8th inning. In the biggest momentum swing since Grant Balfour decided to get in Victor Martinez’s face Joaquin Benoit came in with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning and David Ortiz send it into the Redsox bullpen for a grand slam.
The mistakes began with Jim Leyland coaching not to lose and continued with the players not executing properly. First Jose Veras comes and and after getting one out proceeded give up a hit to the next batter. Then Jim Leyland brought in Drew Smyly to pitch to Jacob Ellsbury and he walked him. Next was Al Alburquerque who struck out Shane Victorino and gave up a hit to Dustin Pedroia loading the bases. David Ortiz was up next and instead of leaving the low ball pitcher in Jim Leyland brought in Joaquin Benoit who hung a fast ball up and Ortiz killed it to right field. This was the bullpen from the regular season that cost the starting pitching numerous wins.
We shall see Tuesday at 4pm but I believe that just like the Balfour confrontation changed the Oakland series, the eighth inning in game 2 swung this series to the Red Sox.