The Boston Red Sox certainly took offense to Yunel Escobar stealing third base with his team leading by five runs in the seventh inning of Sunday’s game. But Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon had no problem with the swiping.
Frustration boiled over for the Red Sox, who were about to be handed their 10th consecutive loss, as words were exchanged and benches cleared.
It might be one of baseball’s unwritten rules, but it’s one Maddon is fine with breaking, and as he was quick to point out, one that Boston is guilty of breaking as well.
After the Rays’ 8-5 win, Maddon brought up Game 1 of the teams’ American League Division Series last season.
“Last year in the playoffs, they had an 8-2 lead in the eighth inning, (Jacoby) Ellsbury led off with a single and stole second base, beating us 12-2,” Maddon said. “That was a little bit more egregious than their interpretation tonight.”
Maddon questioned the Red Sox’s motives in the altercation and pointed out how quickly five-run leads can disappear at Tropicana Field. Boston blew a five-run advantage in Saturday’s game.
“Our goal is to not permit them scoring runs. Their goal is to score runs — the whole game,” he said. “Apparently some of the guys on their bench did not like that. I really wish they would roll back the tape and look at that more specifically. You have to keep your personal vendettas, your personal prejudice, your personal judgment components in your back pocket.
“So before you start screaming regarding any of that, just understand what happened just last year and also understand that in this ballpark, 5-0 leads can evaporate quickly.’’
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