“This won’t stop us.”
With those four words, Dustin Pedroia officially turned the page on the Red Sox’ stunning — and controversial — Game 3 loss. Now, it’s up to his teammates to follow his lead and display the resilience that’s been a hallmark of this year’s Red Sox.
The Red Sox fell to the Cardinals 5-4 in Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday in the most unlikely fashion. St. Louis walked off with the victory on an obstruction call in the bottom of the ninth inning. After the game, the Red Sox were confused, stunned and angry. But Boston’s frustration was surpassed only by its confidence.
“I think you see what this ballclub is made of. We’re not going to quit,” said Game 3 starter Jake Peavy, who was visibly upset over the way Saturday’s contest ended. “We’re going keep grinding out, no matter how many times the ball bounces the other way, and we’ll show up [Sunday] ready to play. But this one, obviously, it’s a tough way to lose.”
Tough doesn’t even begin to describe the Red Sox’ Game 3 defeat. Boston fought back from two separate two-run deficits, including a 4-2 hole in the eighth inning that was erased when rookie Xander Bogaerts hit a two-out RBI single. Yet things unraveled in the ninth inning, culminating with the obstruction call that everyone will be talking about for years.
Jon Jay hit a sharp ground ball up the middle with runners at second and third and one out. Pedroia made a tremendous diving stop, popped up and fired home for an out. Jarrod Saltalamacchia then threw to third base in an attempt to throw out Allen Craig — who had been on second base when the play began — but his throw traveled up the left field line. Craig jumped up to head home, but stumbled over Will Middlebrooks, resulting in an obstruction call. The call was especially devastating for the Red Sox because Daniel Nava would have thrown out Craig at the plate had the call not been made.
“Well, he was awarded home plate after the obstruction call at third base. Tough way to have a game end, particularly of this significance, when Will is trying to dive inside to stop the throw,” John Farrell said. “I don’t know how he gets out of the way when he’s lying on the ground. And when Craig trips over him, I guess by the letter of the rule you could say it’s obstruction. Like I said, that’s a tough pill to swallow.”
The Red Sox have shown an incredible ability to overcome adversity this season. Boston hasn’t lost four games in a row all year, and it’s due in large part to a team-wide case of amnesia. Even after the most crushing defeat, the Red Sox seemingly find a way to forget all about it by the time they arrive at the park the next day.
“I don’t think we’re going to go home angry,” Saltalamacchia said shortly after Game 3. “Obviously, we’re mad right now, but you’ve got to have that ability to walk out of the clubhouse and forget about it. You’ve got to be able to go home, you’ve got families to go to. It’s a lesson. It’s a lesson you go through. I think we’ll be all right.”
The Red Sox will enter Sunday’s contest with their backs firmly planted up against the wall. They’ve suffered two vomit-inducing losses in a row — including one in historic fashion — and are sending a pitcher to the mound in Clay Buchholz who is self-admittedly less than 100 percent. Never have the odds been stacked so high against this team.
If the Red Sox are going to keep up with their season-long trend of defying the odds when they’re stacked to the roof, Boston will need to feed off the words of its 5-for-9 second baseman and incumbent leader.
“This game’s not going to define our team,” Pedroia said after Game 3.
Perhaps he’s right. Perhaps Game 4 will define these Red Sox.