Workman delivers in clutch situation

Workman delivers in clutch situation
October 20, 2013, 3:00 am
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BOSTON – The situation couldn’t have been much more difficult for a rookie pitcher. Entering what could be a decisive postseason game with runners on first and third, no outs, trailing by a run, to face the dangerous Jhonny Peralta.
 
But that was the situation right-hander Brandon Workman inherited from left-hander Franklin Morales in the sixth inning of Saturday’s ALCS Game 6.
 
Peralta fouled off Workman’s first pitch. On the second pitch, a fastball, Peralta drove a grounder to second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who tagged out Victor Martinez running from first to second.  With Prince Fielder running from third to home, Pedroia then threw to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who chased the lumbering Fielder back to third. Fielder belly-flopped short of the base and Saltalamacchia dove on him for the tag.
 
Workman then struck out Alex Avila on four pitches, including a 94-mph fastball which Avila watched go by for strike three.
 
“He comes in with first and third against the Detroit Tigers in Game 6 and he was unfazed by it,” said bench coach Torey Lovullo. “He was driving all of his pitches into the strike zone and that’s all we ask for guys to do when they come up here. And for a young pitcher to do that with such confidence  is pretty rare.
 
“Standing on the mound comfortable and confident as well as driving fastballs by quality hitters, there’s something to be said for the developing confidence thru the course of the year and to stop into this arena and do it under these circumstances was pretty spectacular. ‘Work’ got us thru a really big jam and a rally big moment,  pushed us into he seventh inning and preserved a [one-run game].”
 
At the beginning of the season, though, it was as unlikely that Workman would be in that situation as it was for the Red Sox. While Workman started the season with Double-A Portland, the Sox began the season with low expectations outside the organization.
 
“I just grabbed [fellow rookie Xander] Bogaerts a minute ago and said we’re a long way from Portland right now,” Workman said. “Obviously we had hopes of being up, being able to contribute, but for it to be coming true right now and going to the World Series in both of our first years, it’s unbelievable.
 
“It’s been a hell of a ride.”
 
Workman made 26 appearances, including three starts, in the regular season, posting a record of 6-3 with a 4.97 ERA.  In four postseason appearances, spanning 5 1/3 innings, he did not allow a run, allowing two of six inherited runners to score.  In Game 6, though, with two inherited runners, he managed to keep them both from scoring.
 
“I was just trying to minimize damage right there and give our offense a shot,” he said. “And we end up turning the double play and not giving up a run right there. That was huge. It was a hell of a play by Pedey, head’s up baseball, to not let that run come in. It was great.”
 
Workman went 1 2/3 scoreless innings in the decisive game, with two hits and a strikeout.  Knowing that he had the confidence of his manager, going into such a high-pressure situation like that is huge.
 
“It’s great to know he believes I can do it,” Workman said. “To get the job done in tough spots and I was able to tonight. So it’s great.”