When Red Sox reliever Brandon Workman went out to bat against Trevor Rosenthal in the top of the ninth, it looked like a mistake. Your first thought was one of concern. Was Red Sox manager John Farrell locked in the bathroom? Was he perhaps trapped beneath a large object? When Workman, batting for the first time in his pro career, struck out on three pitches, your thoughts turned tactical. Why leave a bat like Mike Napoli's on the bench? Was it worth essentially burning an out in the inning to have Workman pitch more in the bottom of the ninth? Is it wise for Farrell to eat Ibogaine in the middle of a World Series game?
In the Cardinals' half of the inning, Workman struck out Matt Adams and gave up a single to Yadier Molina. Koji Uehara replaced him and the obstruction-off happened. After the game, Farrell explained his reasoning for not pinch-hitting for Workman. Via WEEI:
"In hindsight, probably should have double-switched after Salty made the final out the previous inning, with Workman coming in the game. I felt like we get into an extended situation, which that game was looking like it was going to — held [Napoli] back in the event that spot came up again," said Farrell. "In hindsight having Workman hit against [Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal, who blew away Workman on three fastballs] is a mismatch. I recognize it, but we needed more than one inning out of Workman."
So Farrell held back on a pinch-hitter to squeeze more juice of Workman. Mike Napoli—taken out of the lineup so David Ortiz could still hit under NL rules—remained on the bench while Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes pinch-hit at various points in the night. Farrell did get one more out of Workman, but it was against Adams, who wasn't exactly a threat that Uehara and his 0.56 WHIP couldn't face. Like Farrell said, it's all hindsight, but the obstruction call overshadowed some weird choices by the Red Sox skipper.
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