Game 4 Lineups: On Hold
Lineups aren't posted yet at Citizens Bank Park, so we'll go without for now. That 1:37 a.m. finish to Game 3 appears to have taken a lot out of everyone. If Joe Maddon's and Charlie Manuel's days were anything like mine, they didn't even get out of bed until close to noon and didn't do anything productive until... well, until right about now.
About last night... I'm still trying to figure out whether we're seeing really sublime baseball in this series, or really terrible baseball. Maybe it's somehow both. There have been lots of errors, lots of baserunning mistakes, very little in the way of clutch hitting and not a single lead change in the entire series. But there has also been plenty of productive situational hitting, delicious strategic complexities and a walk-off hit (albeit the cheesiest kind imaginable) in Game 3. It's baseball for conoisseurs.
There has been lots of debate as to whether Carlos Ruiz's game-winning chopper would have rolled foul if Evan Longoria had not fielded it and tried to make a play at home. I thought so, with both the naked eye in real-time and after watching it again on replay, and I wrote it that way in the online-only game story. However, a further point deserves to be made here: Longoria made the right play. He had to field the ball and try to make a play unless he was absolutely sure it was going foul -- and there was no way to make sure. As he said afterwards in the Rays' clubhouse, if he lets the ball roll and it stays fair -- thus allowing the winning run to score without even trying to stop it -- he gets hammered in the media.
It's a gorgeous afternoon here -- already a giant improvement over yesterday -- and Game 4 is about 3 1/2 hours away. I'll be back in awhile with lineups.
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