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Varitek's Woes

"Do not underestimate the residue of hard feelings in the wake of Red Sox Manager Terry Francona hitting for Jason Varitek a second time in these playoffs. Tito lifted Varitek for J.D. Drew against Dan Wheeler in the ninth inning of Game 2. It's refreshingly bold given Tito's reputation at a "player's manager" and it makes good sense, but be assured the captain sees this as an act of abject betrayal."

-- Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy

Interesting, because Varitek came up in a key situation this afternoon and failed to deliver. The Red Sox were trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning but had runners on second and third with one out. The Tampa Bay infield was playing back, willing to concede the run for an out.

But Varitek, inexplicably, let a 2-2 fastball from the Rays' Matt Garza go by without offering. He was rung up by home plate umpire Brian O'Nora. Varitek complained the pitch was inside, but as the Red Sox' cather he should know that O'Nora has had a generous strike zone thus far. Varitek is now 0 for 8 in the ALCS and 3 for 22 in the postseason (.136).

After Garza worked out of the inning without allowing a run, the Rays scored four times in the top of the third to take command of the game. At least Varitek can't complain about sitting tomorrow. Kevin Cash will take over the catching duties, as he's handled knuckleballer Tim Wakefield all season long.

By Tom Heleba  |  October 13, 2008; 5:40 PM ET
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Sadly, Tom, this was not inexplicable. Varitek is so messed up right now that he thought his best chance of helping the team was to walk rather than swing, so he took a pitch and hoped for a break. His offense, especially against righties, has been awful this year. As you probably know, it got so bad that he's been posed questions about giving up switch hitting. His numbers RH are much better than LH.

Posted by: PTBNL | October 14, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

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