#Hot Corner

The double-steal that brought down the BoSox

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Like you, I've got little use for the postgame interviews on the field or in the locker room, because it's so terribly rare that anyone actually says anything interesting. I rarely even look at the game stories that get published, because there's so little chance of learning anything about the game (the game specifically, or the sport generally).

Sure, I was wondering about Craig Breslow's performance in Game 2. I wrote about it. But I didn't think to look for a quote. But now we've got this, an actual essay written in complete sentences by the articulate southpaw:

We were aware that the Cardinals might attempt a double steal when I entered the game. I knew that they had some guys on base that had some speed. I tried to vary my looks, vary my holds, step off the rubber and do what I could to disrupt their timing. But when Pete Kozma took off for third and John Jay went behind him for second, I gave Jarrod Saltalamacchia a pretty tough pitch to handle.

It was a fastball, and once I started to commit to the plate, I saw that they were going. I tried to give Salty something he can handle, and it ended up being something he had to reach up for. In that case, I need to do a better job of holding runners. Getting to second and third with less than two outs changed the whole inning, including how I’m going to pitch to Daniel Descalso.

In walking Descalso to load the bases, I probably got a little bit ahead of myself and got a little bit quick to the plate. Initially, with a double play still a possibility, we wanted to pound him down and away and then sink the ball in. The approach changed a little bit once they executed the double steal. There were runners on second and third with less than two outs, where a strikeout would have been the best outcome. We threw a couple of breaking balls, and again, I didn’t execute pitches, resulting in a walk.

There's nothing particularly revelatory here. But it's interesting that Breslow admits that he changed his pitch in the middle of the double-steal attempt, which didn't work out at all; he not only gave Saltalamacchia a lousy pitch to handle, but he also lost a chance to get ahead of Descalso. And we also find that he changed his approach after the double-steal, which might have led to the critical walk.

When I wrote about this stretch, I described the walk as the key play in the game. But after reading Breslow's piece, now I'm wondering if the double-steal was the key play, its impact so dramatic upon everything that followed.

So, score one for intelligent pitchers writing about themselves. And score another for the running game, and Mike Matheny's tactical acumen.

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