Editor?s note: Starting Monday, March 23, NESN will re-air memorable games from the Boston Red Sox?s World Series runs. Up next is Game 2 of the 2013 American League Division Series vs. the Tampa Bay Rays. Get the full schedule by clicking here.
The Boston Red Sox were in a bad way after being walked off on by the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 3 of the 2013 American League Division Series.
But one of the prevalent themes of the 2013 Sox was resilience, and Boston wasn’t about to sit around and feel sorry for itself. Game 4 provided a confident Tampa Bay team with a chance to even the series, sure, but it also allowed the Red Sox another chance to close out the series.
Here are six things you may have forgotten about Game 4 ahead of NESN’s rebroadcast at 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
1. Peavy pickup pays off
The Red Sox acquired 2007 National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy from the Chicago White Sox at the trade deadline and paid a fairly hefty price, sending slick-fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias to the South Side. Peavy was pretty good down the stretch, going 4-1 with a 4.04 ERA in 10 regular-season starts. He was especially good in this game, too, working into the sixth inning and allowing just one run against a Tampa Bay team that had all the momentum after its dramatic Game 3 win. This was arguably Peavy’s best moment as a member of the Red Sox, although he’d get another chance to shine a couple weeks later.
2. Wild thing
The Rays, in the midst of a “bullpen game” before that was even a thing, kept Boston at bay for seven innings. But Tampa Bay sprung a leak in the seventh inning in a very fortunate way for the Sox. Joel Peralta bounced a slider in the dirt that catcher Jose Lobaton couldn’t handle. But this play went deeper than that: The Red Sox appeared to be attempting a double steal with Jacoby Ellsbury heading for second, hoping to draw a throw that would allow Xander Bogaerts to come home through the backdoor. At the plate, Shane Victorino faked a bunt — with two outs, mind you — in an attempt to distract Lobaton or at least get in the way of his would-be throw to second base. It all worked out for the Red Sox, who tied the game on the wild pitch.
3. Small ball
Two pitches later, heads-up baseball prevailed again for the Red Sox. Victorino reached on the slowest of infield dribblers, and Ellsbury easily scored from third base. Ellsbury was able to do so after he not only swiped second base on the aforementioned wild pitch, but he also reached third as he kept running when he saw the ball bouncing toward the backstop. Without getting the ball out of the infield, the Red Sox had regained a lead they wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the game (and series).
4. The kid’s all right
After making his postseason debut as a 21-year-old in Game 3, No. 72 Xander Bogaerts made a big impression on Game 4. Bogaerts showed his poise, working two walks and scoring two of Boston’s three runs. His 0.272 win probability added was the best of any player who appeared in Game 4.
5. OK, Koji
We all know Koji Uehara was a postseason hero for the Red Sox in 2013, but he had a rough go in Game 3. In fact, the entire bullpen struggled, allowing two runs on four hits in two-plus innings of work, culminating with Uehara serving up a game-winning walk-off home run to Lobaton. But he and the entire bullpen bounced back in Game 4, an effort that started with another sparkling performance from Craig Breslow. Then, with the tying run on base in the bottom of the eighth, John Farrell brilliantly managed the bullpen. He brought in Junichi Tazawa, who struck out the only batter he faced, and then called on Uehara, who struck out David DeJesus to end the threat. Uehara worked a perfect ninth, ending the series with a strikeout of Rays star Evan Longoria.
6. Moving on
The Red Sox’s Game 4 win came on Oct. 8. That same day, the Detroit Tigers extended their ALDS series with the A’s, sending it back to Oakland for Game 5 that would take place two days later. Allowing to sit back and wait for one of those teams to then have to fly back across the country for the American League Championship Series put the Sox in an enviable position for the next round.