Worst In Game Pitching Decision In Red Sox History

Which do you think was the worst in game pitching decision in Red Sox history

  • Joe McCarthy starting Denny Galehouse in the 1948 tie breaking game against the Indians

    Votes: 11 3.4%
  • Darrell Johnson bringing in rookie Jim Burton for 9th inning of tied Game 7 of the 1975 World Series

    Votes: 7 2.2%
  • Don Zimmer starting rookie Bobby Sprowl in the last game of the 1978 Boston Massacre

    Votes: 9 2.8%
  • John McNamara skipping over Roger Clemens for relief in Game 7 of the 1986 World Series

    Votes: 30 9.4%
  • Grady Little leaving a tired Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS too ong

    Votes: 262 81.9%
  • Other

    Votes: 1 0.3%

  • Total voters
    320

Papo The Snow Tiger

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Maybe I'm just in a foul mood after this afternoon's game and shouldn't start a thread like this, but today's game got me to thinking about some of the really bad in-game pitching moves made by the Red Sox over the years. Bad pitching decisions certainly aren't unique to the Red Sox, but five came to mind right away for me:

1) Joe McCarthy starting Denny Galehouse (8-8) over Mel Parnell (15-8) in the one game tie breaker for the pennant against the Indians in 1948. Admittedly, I wasn't around for that one and only read about it.
2) Darrel Johnson bringing in rookie Jim Burton to pitch the top of the 9th in a tied Game 7 of the 1975 World Series. Burton had only pitched 1/3 of an inning in the previous month and unfortunately gave up two walks and a hit as the Sox lost the game.
3) Don Zimmer starting rookie Bobby Sprowl in the final game of the 1978 Boston Massacre. It was only Sprowl's second big league start, and in 2/3 of an inning he gave up 3 runs on 4 walks and a hit.
4) John McNamara bringing in Calvin Schiraldi in a tied Game 7 of the 1986 World Series with MVP/Cy Young award winner Roger Clemens watching
5) Grady Little leaving an obviously tiring Pedro Martinez start the 8th inning of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS and leaving him in long enough to lose a 5-2 lead. I remember screaming at the TV for Little to take him out.


Which one do you think was the worst. It's also possible that I forgot about one.
 

GoJeff!

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Sometimes a bad pitcher has a good game, so those seem somewhat defensible. The Little decision was obvious to anyone watching the game. Schiraldi is second worst for me.
 

Sin Duda

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5-5-5. I remember as the 7th inning ended in that game 7. I said to my wife, "Now they're going to take out Pedro and put in Mike Timlin." Then I went to the bathroom. When I came back my wife said "I thought you said they were going to take out Pedro."
 

MonstahsInLeft

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I’m too young to really vote on any of the others (and not young!) so the recency bias is everything on this one but Pedro above all.

I was stationed in Iceland at the time and watching the game by myself in the middle of the night. I immediately called my brother back in Boston at the start of the inning in complete disbelief that Pedro was back in, screaming “What is he doing???”

Even at the time it was incomprehensible…thank god for ‘04.
 

WenZink

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I rarely post, but had to comment on this one.
The absolute worst was in Game 5 of the 2018 ALCS, when Cora tried to get two innings out of a wilting Kimbrel. With the Sox leading 8-6, Kimbrel loads the bases with 3 walks, then gets a sinking liner to left and Benintendi makes a sliding catch to save Kimbrel's (and Cora's) ass. If that ball drops in, the game is tied )or worse if it gets by Benintendi, and the series is tied at 2-2. I can only guess that Cora was trying to show his confidence in Kimbrel. WTF?

The only reason it's not on the list, above, is because luck prevented a disaster. If Pedro gets out of the inning, no one remembers. Or if Timlin came in and gave it up, then "Taking out Pedro" would be on the list. Such is baseball.
 

jon abbey

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I rarely post, but had to comment on this one.
The absolute worst was in Game 5 of the 2018 ALCS, when Cora tried to get two innings out of a wilting Kimbrel. With the Sox leading 8-6, Kimbrel loads the bases with 3 walks, then gets a sinking liner to left and Benintendi makes a sliding catch to save Kimbrel's (and Cora's) ass. If that ball drops in, the game is tied )or worse if it gets by Benintendi, and the series is tied at 2-2. I can only guess that Cora was trying to show his confidence in Kimbrel. WTF?

The only reason it's not on the list, above, is because luck prevented a disaster. If Pedro gets out of the inning, no one remembers. Or if Timlin came in and gave it up, then "Taking out Pedro" would be on the list. Such is baseball.
Strange to bring this up and not mention who you think should have been brought in.
 

OCST

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Eric Gagne in the 2007 ALCS, and for that matter any and all usage of Gagne in September and the playoffs. He was beyond toast at that point of his career. I remember screaming at the TV and hiding behind the couch when Tito brought him into the 10th? 11th? inning against the Indians.
 

WenZink

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Strange to bring this up and not mention who you think should have been brought in.
At that point in the game it would have come down to either Workman or Embree. Cora had boxed himself in by using Barnes to get just the last out in the 7th. But Kimbrel had been dog-shT the prior 6 weeks of the season, so planning on getting TWO innings out of him was clearly insane.

If we go back to the Pedro decision in 2003, it's not like the Sox had Mariano Rivera (or even Keith Foulke or Koji or Paps) in the bullpen. They had Scott Williamson, who had pissed his pants in game 5 of the 2003 ALDS vs Oakland (D Lowe saved the day), Embree for the 8th and Timlin for the 9th. That was hardly the worst one made by Grady. Theo fired his ass, not for that game, but for the entire 2003 season where Grady paid no attention to the pre-game stats provided him. Of course, if Pedro gets out of the inning and the Sox hold on to win the ALCS, Theo would have been stuck with Grady for another year. So, things had a way of working itself out in the end.
 

BaseballJones

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Eric Gagne in the 2007 ALCS, and for that matter any and all usage of Gagne in September and the playoffs. He was beyond toast at that point of his career. I remember screaming at the TV and hiding behind the couch when Tito brought him into the 10th? 11th? inning against the Indians.
It's so weird with Gagne. He had been, of course, a dominant pitcher since becoming a reliever in 2002. Even in 2007 with Texas, he had put up a 2.19 era with just a 1.05 whip. He had 16 saves in 17 chances to that point. He was still getting guys out.

With Boston he had several high-profile meltdowns, but over his last 13 regular season games, he had a 2.84 era, striking out 9.9 batters per 9 innings. His last 5 regular season appearances he pitched 4.2 innings, allowing no runs, posting a 1.07 whip and a 13.5 k/9 rate.

So it looked like he had gotten himself back in a groove. In 4 of the 5 postseason appearances he threw a total of 4.0 ip, allowing just 3 h, 1 r, and 1 walk (2.25 era, 1.00 whip) while striking out 5 (11.3 k/9). And the 1 run he allowed over those four games came in the 9th inning of a 9-1 win, so the ultimate in "no big deal".

That other game though, which was his 3rd postseason appearance that year, in game 2 of the ALCS, he came into the game in the 9th with the score tied at 6. He got a strikeout, allowed a Grady Sizemore single, and then walked Asdrubal Cabrera. He was replaced by Javier Lopez, who promptly allowed a single (to Trot Nixon of all people), threw a wild pitch, walked Victor Martinez, and allowed a single to Ryan Garko. Jon Lester came in and promptly gave up a double, got an out, then allowed a homer to Franklin Gutierrez. Long story short, the pitchers they brought in after Gagne completely crapped the bed behind Gagne.

But the next year, Gagne pitched for Milwaukee and was terrible, and then his career was over. What a strange end to what was a pretty awesome career.
 

Phil Plantier

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That was hardly the worst one made by Grady. Theo fired his ass, not for that game, but for the entire 2003 season where Grady paid no attention to the pre-game stats provided him.
Counterargument:

But then came Game 7 of the ALCS in Yankee Stadium, when he sent Pedro Martinez out to pitch one more inning, the eighth, with the Red Sox up 5-2. As calm and peaceful as Henry is, he can get angry. "Can we fire him right now?" he asked Lucchino. The rest, including Little, was history.
https://africa.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/7005442/mlb-how-john-henry-built-sports-empire-espn-magazine
 

WenZink

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John Henry's reaction was/is not the same as Theo Epstein's reaction. If Pedro had gotten out of the inning (instead of a Posada broken bat bloop that tied the game), Henry would have thought Grady to be a hero, while Theo would have considered Grady to be a bit lucky. Theo was able to use Henry's over-reaction as an excuse to fire Grady.

Do I think Pedro should have been left in? Not really. But it wasn't so clear cut, and hardly "The worst in-game decision." As fans, when we see a pitcher struggling, we want him OUT NOW, and we won't worry about the next guy coming in until/if he screws up. The point is that Grady was trying to figure out how to get 7 more outs (actually, it was 9 more outs, if he'd taken Pedro out after the 6th.) In contrast, I remember watching game 4 of the 2018 ALCS and wondering what the hell Cora was thinking when he burnt through Barnes for one out in the 7th and then handed the last two innings to Kimbrel. At least Grady put some thought into his decision. Cora was brainless, IMO.
 

BuellMiller

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John Henry's reaction was/is not the same as Theo Epstein's reaction. If Pedro had gotten out of the inning (instead of a Posada broken bat bloop that tied the game), Henry would have thought Grady to be a hero, while Theo would have considered Grady to be a bit lucky. Theo was able to use Henry's over-reaction as an excuse to fire Grady.

Do I think Pedro should have been left in? Not really. But it wasn't so clear cut, and hardly "The worst in-game decision." As fans, when we see a pitcher struggling, we want him OUT NOW, and we won't worry about the next guy coming in until/if he screws up. The point is that Grady was trying to figure out how to get 7 more outs (actually, it was 9 more outs, if he'd taken Pedro out after the 6th.) In contrast, I remember watching game 4 of the 2018 ALCS and wondering what the hell Cora was thinking when he burnt through Barnes for one out in the 7th and then handed the last two innings to Kimbrel. At least Grady put some thought into his decision. Cora was brainless, IMO.
I think you’re confusing it a little by an inning. He only had to get the bullpen through 6 more outs in 2003 with Pedro making it through 7 (5 outs if you count the first out of the 8th that Pedro did get). Yes, Williamson had a rough go of it in g5 of the alds, but had been nails mostly otherwise. Leaving Pedro in to start the inning was bad, but I was most dumbfounded when GL came out to the mound after a few reached and not taking an obviously gassed Pedro out).
 

WenZink

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I think you’re confusing it a little by an inning. He only had to get the bullpen through 6 more outs in 2003 with Pedro making it through 7 (5 outs if you count the first out of the 8th that Pedro did get). Yes, Williamson had a rough go of it in g5 of the alds, but had been nails mostly otherwise. Leaving Pedro in to start the inning was bad, but I was most dumbfounded when GL came out to the mound after a few reached and not taking an obviously gassed Pedro out).
Yup. Off by an inning. So scales tip more against Grady.

But, right or wrong, I never felt Grady had full confidence in Williamson. After a crappy year (mostly with Cin) he had a good September but was still prone to giving up walks. The old Yankee Stadium was incredibly intimidating and I'm guessing that Grady was afraid of how he'd deal with the pressure -- while hoping that Pedro could deal with anything. I think we, as fans, tend to discount the "inside" information managers have about how a pitcher/player is on a particular day (showing nerves or missing the Kzone during bullpen warmups). Some of it may just be a manager's bias (see Don Zimmer hating Bill Lee or, going way back, Dick Williams not trusting Lee Stange, who led the Sox starters in 1967 in ERA, but Williams thought he "wasn't a winner," because of his 8-10 WL) I had heard that during game 7, Embree was stressing out in the pen and it was relayed to Grady. Could be BS. But I'd like to think that a managerh 's "hunch" is sometimes based on info of which we fans are not aware.
 

BaseballJones

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Pedro had retired six straight Yankees in the 5th and 6th innings. In the 7th he ran into trouble allowing Giambi's second homer and a couple of singles, but ended the inning by striking out Soriano. It took him 21 pitches to get out of the 7th.

But then Ortiz hit a homer to put the lead back up to 3 and it felt like the kind of response that should seal the victory. Pedro came out (to all of our surprise) and got Nick Johnson to pop up weakly. At that point, even with a fading Pedro on the mound, NY's win expectancy was just 6%. Grady had Timlin and Embree warming and ready to go "in case Pedro stumbles" (Joe Buck). But then...

Jeter double
Bernie single
Matsui double
Posada double

16 total pitches, and each hitter had two strikes, but Pedro just couldn't put any of them away. Embree and Timlin were eventually summoned and incredibly managed to keep the game tied.
 

WenZink

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Williamson had given up 3 BB in 8 playoff innings, against 14 K. He had been lights out.
But 2 of those 3 BB came 10 days earlier in Game 5 of the ALDS, when he came in to start the 9th inning to preserve a 1-run lead and close out the series. Grady had to pull him after 2 batters and go with DLowe. Not exactly a performance to instill a manager's confidence in a player that had just been with the team for a few weeks. Williamson was a 5 BB/9 pitcher for his career. 2003 was just a little better. (He did have an excellent K/9 for that era.)
 

tims4wins

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But 2 of those 3 BB came 10 days earlier in Game 5 of the ALDS, when he came in to start the 9th inning to preserve a 1-run lead and close out the series. Grady had to pull him after 2 batters and go with DLowe. Not exactly a performance to instill a manager's confidence in a player that had just been with the team for a few weeks. Williamson was a 5 BB/9 pitcher for his career. 2003 was just a little better. (He did have an excellent K/9 for that era.)
But then he went 3 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 6 K against the Yankees. He closed game 1 (in Yankee Stadium) with a 5-2 lead (same lead as game 7). He closed game 4 with a 3-2 lead. He closed game 6 (also in Yankee Stadium) with a 9-6 lead. So Grady had lost confidence in him because of game 5 in Oakland, but then sent him out to close 3 more games, which he closed nearly flawlessly? Just because he thought the stage was bigger in game 7? Sorry, that argument does not hold water.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I can't believe we're still re-litigating Grady's boner 18 years later. He made the wrong decision. Everyone, including Pedro himself, knew he was done after seven. Everyone except Little. Lack of confidence in one pitcher doesn't make leaving in a worn-out ace the right call. It was a game 7. All hands on deck. If Williamson didn't have it, he'd have gotten an extremely quick hook. Same for Embree or Timlin or Jones or Arroyo or Sauerbeck. At least if there was a competent game manager in the dugout. There wasn't.

It was an epicly dumb call then and it remains so now.
 

Dick Drago

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I never saw Timlin pitch so well as in the ‘03 playoffs-Embree was excellent as well. the bullpen was rock solid after a so-so year with the addition and return to form of Williamson—Pedro was no longer a guy you’d want to go past 100,105 pitches...he definitely would lose some effectiveness.

Totally off-topic, but that image of BK. Kim flashing the finger at theFenway crowd-I hadn’t thought of it in years, and it made me crack-up!
 

WenZink

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But then he went 3 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 6 K against the Yankees. He closed game 1 (in Yankee Stadium) with a 5-2 lead (same lead as game 7). He closed game 4 with a 3-2 lead. He closed game 6 (also in Yankee Stadium) with a 9-6 lead. So Grady had lost confidence in him because of game 5 in Oakland, but then sent him out to close 3 more games, which he closed nearly flawlessly? Just because he thought the stage was bigger in game 7? Sorry, that argument does not hold water.
yes, Just because he thought the state was bigger in game 7 with the Sox in Yankee Stadium and wit the Sox on the verge of breaking an 80+ year jinx vs the Yankees. No one ever considered Williamson to be a clutch performer. He was a hard-thrower, but prone to wildness. The Sox got him at the '03 trade deadline for a prospect in A ball.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Just a small quibble with the poll question. Does selecting the starting pitcher count as an in-game decision? The five options in the poll are three decisions made during a game and two pre-game decisions about the starting pitcher. Seem like two different situations to judge. Galehouse and Sprowl were decisions made when there was plenty of time to think and consider options. Burton in '75, no Clemens in Game 7 of '86, leaving Pedro in to long in '03 were calls made in the moment without a ton of time to consider all the ways it could work/not work. The question asked here should probably be simply the worst managerial decision about pitching in Red Sox history..
 

nolasoxfan

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RE: Burton in 1975
Johnson didn’t have a lot of options after pinch hitting Cooper for Willoughby in a tied game in the bottom of the 8th, which was the right move with Dewey drawing a walk right before. Tiant had pitched the night before with Drago going 3. Heck, even wise Wise pitched an inning (and got the W) in Game 6. Who was left?

Note: I realize a Game 7 is all hands and assholes on deck, but there weren’t many fresh options for Johnson to choose from after Game 6. Who was left? Dick Pole maybe…??
 
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Papo The Snow Tiger

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Just a small quibble with the poll question. Does selecting the starting pitcher count as an in-game decision? The five options in the poll are three decisions made during a game and two pre-game decisions about the starting pitcher. Seem like two different situations to judge. Galehouse and Sprowl were decisions made when there was plenty of time to think and consider options. Burton in '75, no Clemens in Game 7 of '86, leaving Pedro in to long in '03 were calls made in the moment without a ton of time to consider all the ways it could work/not work. The question asked here should probably be simply the worst managerial decision about pitching in Red Sox history..
I see your point. I was thinking about wording it "game affecting decision", but then the discussion could have been about trades or free agent signings, and I was more interested in the affects of managerial decisions for a single game.
 

tims4wins

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yes, Just because he thought the state was bigger in game 7 with the Sox in Yankee Stadium and wit the Sox on the verge of breaking an 80+ year jinx vs the Yankees. No one ever considered Williamson to be a clutch performer. He was a hard-thrower, but prone to wildness. The Sox got him at the '03 trade deadline for a prospect in A ball.
This is non-sensical. Grady sent him out for the next three save opportunities, and he nailed them all, but then he got scared of using him in game 7?

Anyway, this is a dumb tangent anyway, because we are talking about the 8th inning, not the 9th. It would have been Timlin or Embree time.

Timlin at that point had pitched 8 1/3 IP, 10 K, 0 BB, 1 H
Embree was at 6 1/3 IP, 1 K, 0 BB, 4 H

So why was Grady afraid of them? Was it the 0 walks, or the 0 runs that they had given up all playoffs?
 

RG33

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Perhaps it is recency bias, but I can’t get past the Grady Little decision (s).

My issue was that it broke what had been done all year long. You knew Pedro was toast past 90+ pitches. You knew you had Timlin/Embree/Kim/Lyon available, all who had finished a ton of games that year. It just felt like such a forced, desperate move — and when the wheels started coming off after the first out of the inning, you knew that confirmation bias was going to take over and Grady wouldn’t pull him, which of course, he did not. If he had pulled him after Jeter’s double, no problem. If he had pulled him after Bernie’s single, no problem. But — then he still waits, and lets Hideki double. And THEN, he leaves him and lets Posada double. 5-5.

I mean, Grady had like 3 ways to have avoided this disaster, and he just sat there through it all. It wasn’t just bringing him back in the 8th when everyone knew he was toast. It wasn’t just letting him stay in with 1 out after Jeter doubled. It was like 4 different decisions in effect that EVERYONE in the world knew was wrong.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I was in a Yankees bar in NYC during that game and the spirit went from broken after Ortiz’s HR to elation when Pedro came back out. A yankee friend I was with said “I guess they’re determined to lose this”.
 

pk1627

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I rarely post, but had to comment on this one.
The absolute worst was in Game 5 of the 2018 ALCS, when Cora tried to get two innings out of a wilting Kimbrel. With the Sox leading 8-6, Kimbrel loads the bases with 3 walks, then gets a sinking liner to left and Benintendi makes a sliding catch to save Kimbrel's (and Cora's) ass. If that ball drops in, the game is tied )or worse if it gets by Benintendi, and the series is tied at 2-2. I can only guess that Cora was trying to show his confidence in Kimbrel. WTF?

The only reason it's not on the list, above, is because luck prevented a disaster. If Pedro gets out of the inning, no one remembers. Or if Timlin came in and gave it up, then "Taking out Pedro" would be on the list. Such is baseball.
Hardly the worst. Going for the kill, you’re going to bring in your best (Kimbrel) to face the dangerous top of the order in the 8th up 3. And it’s a no brainer to keep him there with a 2 run lead in the 9th. Not his first 2 inning save.

Obviously wilting? Nope. Kimbrel was tipping pitches and they still couldn’t hit him. 3 walks in the ninth.
 

bankshot1

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Every time I watch Bull Durham, a movie I really like, I grimace a little, knowing that Grady Little had a hand in making that movie. IMO his Pedro decision will always reside in the Mt Rushmore of fucking stupid managerial decisons.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Eric Gagne in the 2007 ALCS, and for that matter any and all usage of Gagne in September and the playoffs. He was beyond toast at that point of his career. I remember screaming at the TV and hiding behind the couch when Tito brought him into the 10th? 11th? inning against the Indians.
Winning the WS absolves any wrong doing. On the field anyway.
 

NYCSox

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Perhaps it is recency bias, but I can’t get past the Grady Little decision (s).

My issue was that it broke what had been done all year long. You knew Pedro was toast past 90+ pitches. You knew you had Timlin/Embree/Kim/Lyon available, all who had finished a ton of games that year. It just felt like such a forced, desperate move — and when the wheels started coming off after the first out of the inning, you knew that confirmation bias was going to take over and Grady wouldn’t pull him, which of course, he did not. If he had pulled him after Jeter’s double, no problem. If he had pulled him after Bernie’s single, no problem. But — then he still waits, and lets Hideki double. And THEN, he leaves him and lets Posada double. 5-5.

I mean, Grady had like 3 ways to have avoided this disaster, and he just sat there through it all. It wasn’t just bringing him back in the 8th when everyone knew he was toast. It wasn’t just letting him stay in with 1 out after Jeter doubled. It was like 4 different decisions in effect that EVERYONE in the world knew was wrong.
I don’t think Kim was on the ALCS roster. And if he was I don’t think late and close at the Toilet was a good spot for him after what happened in 2001.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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He was not on the ALCS roster. They removed him and Adrian Brown from the roster after the divisional series and replaced them with Jeff Suppan (who didn’t pitch at all) and Todd Jones (who pitched in game 6).

Kim pitched in G1 of the ALDS, brought in for the save, getting two outs but allowing a walk and a hbp before being pulled for Embree who gave up a hit and the lead. Sox lost in extra innings on that Hernandez bunt single off Lowe.

didn’t Kim then flip off the fans at Fenway when the series shifted there? Feel like something happened and his Sox career was all but over at that point.
 

NYCSox

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Yeah that’s what I thought thanks.

As for the thread premise there is nothing worse than the train wreck series of decisions made by McNamara in games 6 and 7.
 

bosockboy

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I can't believe we're still re-litigating Grady's boner 18 years later. He made the wrong decision. Everyone, including Pedro himself, knew he was done after seven. Everyone except Little. Lack of confidence in one pitcher doesn't make leaving in a worn-out ace the right call. It was a game 7. All hands on deck. If Williamson didn't have it, he'd have gotten an extremely quick hook. Same for Embree or Timlin or Jones or Arroyo or Sauerbeck. At least if there was a competent game manager in the dugout. There wasn't.

It was an epicly dumb call then and it remains so now.
Yep. And Pedro went through the hug line after 7. He was mentally done and you can’t ramp back up after that.

I’ve reconciled this as part of the process in winning in 2004. Without this we probably don’t get Schilling and 2004 probably doesn’t happen.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Yep. And Pedro went through the hug line after 7. He was mentally done and you can’t ramp back up after that.

I’ve reconciled this as part of the process in winning in 2004. Without this we probably don’t get Schilling and 2004 probably doesn’t happen.
Boy there’s a conundrum….
Would you rather have won in ‘03 and never had to think of Curt Shilling and the Red Sox in the same sentence or have had the version that unfolded in this universe?
 

cantor44

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I was at game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, sitting in the centerfield bleachers. Let me tell you, being at the game was one of the most riveting experiences of my life.

When Pedro came out for the seventh, there was a bit of grumbling amongst Red Sox fans. Though I could understand trying to get a couple more outs from him, while my buddies were ALREADY not having it (Pedro had been turning into a pumpkin at 100 pitches all season). Pedro was hit hard that inning, and clearly was out of gas: a couple line drive outs plus a Giambi home run. But he got out of the inning with the Sox still leading. Okay, we thought, he did his job, his night is done.

One thing that the TV broadcast may not have captured is that when Pedro came back out for the 8th the YS crowd went crazy. Everyone EVERYONE knew he had nothing left. A Yankee fan directly behind me started screaming, "It's the ghost of Babe Ruth! The ghost of Babe Ruth is managing the Red Sox!" When Little kept Pedro in after visiting the mound in the 8th, the crowd went berserk again, more: "It's the ghost of Babe Ruth!" 54,000 people could clearly see what one man could not (and please note that the Sox bullpen was lights out in the postseason - Williamson and Timlin were shutting hitters down). It was a foregone conclusion Pedro would lose the lead.

Though Little perhaps made an equally bad decision putting Wakefield into the game in extra innings. I say this because while Wakefield was effective that year, as a knuckleballer, he was susceptible to giving up home runs. Do or die, tie game, when you're on the road, yeah, not the best time to insert Wakefield.

It's painful to remember it and I almost feel sorry for Little. Clearly the moment was too big for him, and he kind of mentally collapsed. In way, by keeping Pedro in the game he was passing the buck, just too scared to have to be responsible for the outcome, though ironically that's exactly what happened.

The. Worst. Ever.
 

Wallball Tingle

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The Legend of Ortiz is a bit less mighty without '04, and 0-3 comeback (against NYY!) is so glorious as to be worth almost anything.

But if the victory against the Marlins could be assured, it's more tempting than I'd have thought to remove Schilling's association with the miracle team.

But I don't get to pick which timeline I'm in or who's on the team, so I'll just live with the incredible outcome we got.
 

cantor44

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Dec 23, 2020
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The Legend of Ortiz is a bit less mighty without '04, and 0-3 comeback (against NYY!) is so glorious as to be worth almost anything.

But if the victory against the Marlins could be assured, it's more tempting than I'd have thought to remove Schilling's association with the miracle team.

But I don't get to pick which timeline I'm in or who's on the team, so I'll just live with the incredible outcome we got.
Nothing will beat the comeback from 0-3 down ...whatever, Schilling is a douche, but he was pretty damn heroic as an athlete, goddamn stapling his ankle tendon in place to pitch ... Games 4 and 5 were the most epic sporting events I've ever seen. Game 6 was remarkable in its own way. I'll take the '03 loss for the '04 miracle.
 

curly2

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Jul 8, 2003
4,492
I was only 1 years old at the time so others will know better, but should McNamara have gone to Stanley a batter earlier to face Ray Knight?
I was 21, and the answer is yes. Schiraldi wasn't a one-inning closer -- he averaged two innings per appearance -- but he had thrown 52 pitches. I think he was gassed.

Counterintuitively, the other thing you could argue is that Schiraldi should have stayed in to face Mookie Wilson, since he was a guy you could strike out with high fastballs -- which Stanley didn't have.
 

findguapo

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Apr 7, 2006
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I never saw Timlin pitch so well as in the ‘03 playoffs-Embree was excellent as well. the bullpen was rock solid after a so-so year with the addition and return to form of Williamson—Pedro was no longer a guy you’d want to go past 100,105 pitches...he definitely would lose some effectiveness.

Totally off-topic, but that image of BK. Kim flashing the finger at theFenway crowd-I hadn’t thought of it in years, and it made me crack-up!
This is correct. Timlin had been absolutely unhittable in the 03 playoffs. It was the best he ever pitched.
 

redsoxcentury

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Jul 16, 2005
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Williamson had given up 3 BB in 8 playoff innings, against 14 K. He had been lights out.
i recall Grady said before the playoffs that he would go with the hot hand as closer. Well, Williamson (and also Timlin/Embree) was hot. Grady didn’t even follow his own plan.
 

Hank Scorpio

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Apr 1, 2013
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I remember watching the game with my mom and my sister. I was 21, my sister was 16.

When Pedro came out for the eighth, my mind searched for the right words to express what I was thinking.

My sister nailed it, when she exclaimed “What the FUCK?!”
 

Humphrey

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Aug 3, 2010
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It wasn't "in-game," it was "before the game" – but definitely Galehouse over Parnell.
So was Sproul, I'd say the Galehouse move is considerably worse, given the do-or-die nature of that game; but neither is "in game".
 

Humphrey

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I remember an interview with Pedro maybe 5-10 years ago when he said that Embree couldn't get Nick Johnson out to save his soul and Pedro could. And did.

So at that point, sure, let him pitch to Jeter. Jeter hits a bullet double to right (which I think Nixon could have done a better job on, but, still, it was a rocket). So, get him out then. Not only that, but Bernie Williams at that point in his career, was clearly a worse hitter right handed and Shemp Sui was after him, another lefty.