Baseball is a game of inches and execution. Never was that more evident than Max Scherzer's great escape in the third inning of ALCS Game 6.
Though the Detroit Tigers would ultimately fall to the Boston Red Sox 5-2 on Shane Victorino's seventh inning grand slam, their season had actually flashed before their eyes much sooner in the game. Max Scherzer, their bulldog, managed to wiggle out of the third inning jam, but it took a great defensive effort on his part and a little luck. Oh, and maybe throw some questionable managing in there, too.
Scherzer had walked Xanders Bogaerts and Jacoby Ellsbury to start the inning and seemed a little antsy on the hill, but Red Sox manager John Farrell called for a bunt anyway with the eventual hero, Victorino. A gift out was exactly what the doctor ordered, though it didn't turn out to be much of a gift as Victorino's popup bunt floated into no man's land between the mound and plate. Scherzer had to charge in quickly from the hill, and with a slide that would make Prince Fielder jealous he pulled off the clean catch to hold the runners at bay, which would prove critical later in the inning,
He also made an interesting face that proved hilarious.
The next batter, Dustin Pedroia, provided a much bigger scare for Scherzer. Pedroia crushed a would-be three-run homer down the left field line that went foul by literally inches.
Carlton Fisk revisited.
Though clearly foul from every angle, the play was reviewed after John Farrell disputed the call. Not that Joe West was complaining, he got to make the foul ball signal on camera.
When the at-bat continued, Pedroia hit a weak grounder right over the third base bag Miguel Cabrera that played into a tailor made double play. The threat was over, and the game remained scoreless through three innings.
Scherzer orchestrated impressive escapes in the first and sixth innings as well, but the third inning seemed to have the most potential for Boston. At least until the seventh, but Scherzer could only watch as the bullpen allowed his two runners to score on Victorino's slam. As we noted last night, it wasn't his best performance, but Scherzer left the field with nothing to be ashamed of. He battled and left it all on the field, it just wasn't enough to knock off a determined and resilient Red Sox squad.
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