CLEVELAND On a night when it appeared offense was going to be scarce for the Red Sox, a little aggressiveness got the better of them on the base paths.
Dustin Pedroia was cut down at home plate in the fourth inning trying to make it a bases-clearing double for Adrian Gonzalez, but the throw from Shelley Duncan was perfectly placed between Carl Crawford scoring and Pedroia getting tagged out. That actually turned out to be the closest the Sox would come to scoring over the rest of the game in a 5-2 loss to the Tribe.
The Pedroia miscue was perhaps understandable given he was only a couple of strides behind Crawford on a Gonzalez double that kicked around by the left field wall, and thats a tough call for everybody involved including third base coach Jerry Royster.
Aggressive base-running cost us a little bit, yeah. Pedroia had to slow up a little bit around second or he might have passed Carl, said Valentine. If Ellsbury had to do it over again he wouldnt have done it with no outs.
But the Ellsbury base-running gaffe was a little more glaring in the sixth. Its tough to fault a guy that had two of Bostons three hits on a slow evening, but making the first or third out of an inning on the bases especially at third base is a cardinal baseball sin. Ellsbury did just that when he attempted to stretch a double into a triple and was caught by a perfect barehanded play from Cleveland centerfielder Michael Brantley.
It then took another perfect tag by Brent Lillibridge at third base to catch Ellsbury as he was trying to hook slide around the tag, and the speedy centerfielder was out. He slammed his helmet off the ground in incredulity, but that turned out to be Bostons last, best chance to score in a tight game.
I wouldnt call it a mistake. It was more being aggressive trying to make something happen, said Ellsbury. Thats what youve got to do when youre not scoring runs. It was barehanded off the wall with a perfect tag, so Id do it all over again.
So the manager says Ellsbury wouldnt have done it if he had the play over, and the player said hes do it all over again. Such is life with the 2012 Boston Red Sox.
Its tough to argue with Ellsburys assessment of a very impatient offense right now, but if Ellsbury did it again the Red Sox would most likely lose all over again as theyve done many, many times this season.