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Another View of the Eighth Inning

I think the reason Terry Francona sent Daisuke Matsuzaka out for the bottom of the eighth inning, and left him out there even after a leadoff single was because he was hoping to save some bullpen firepower for Game 2, in anticipation of a five-inning start (if that) from Josh Beckett. That's the only way I can explain Francona's failure to turn to the bullpen to start the eighth, and especially for staying away entirely from Manny Delcarmen, who, of late, has been the Red Sox's most dominant set-up man.

Managers often pay dearly for such a greedy, looking-ahead-too-far approach, and Francona almost got burned, when Hideki Okajima went to a 3-0 count on Carlos Pena--one wayward pitch away from having the bases loaded and nobody out. Luckily for the Red Sox, Pena let them off the hook by swinging at the 3-0 pitch and flying out to right, a huge out that helped the Red Sox escape unscathed.

Does this signal some concern about Beckett? I think it does. We'll know soon enough.

By Dave Sheinin  |  October 11, 2008; 12:15 PM ET
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Speaking of Beckett, I heard a rumor that the Rays are flying in Kenny Lofton to sing the National Anthem...

Posted by: Anon. | October 11, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

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