Red Sox don't even try to get the runner over
Pedroia takes the first pitch for a ball--Crawford didn't move. Then there was multiple pick-off attempts, one of which nearly caught Crawford leaning. Now with Pedroia up a ball in the count, if I'm Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, I want Pedroia to work the count and get Crawford more chances to steal, or at least try to figure out Yankees' closer Rafael Soriano's pick-off move. Next pitch is a fastball down the middle and Pedroia hits a line drive to center that results in an out. I won't even bring up the idea of him bunting. I mean not in the American League, right? 2 pitches and Crawford is still on first.
Next batter was Adrian Gonzalez. First pitch fastball that was taken by Agonz for a strike. Crawford didn't move. Then after a pick-off attempt, Soriano throws a good pitch on the outside corner and Gonzalez pops it up to short. 2 more pitches and now 2 outs--Crawford still on first.
Adrian Gonzalez is on fire right now. He's the type of hitter that will hurt you in any count. Why not take a second strike? Why you ask? If he's 0-2, what's the chances Soriano is throwing a fastball in the zone on that third pitch? Even if he opts not to throw a breaking ball, there's a chance the pitch is more difficult for the catcher to throw Crawford out should he attempt to steal in that count. Now the Yankees could always pitch out 0-2, so you don't have to run Crawford in that count, but I just don't like not even giving him a chance to run.
Next batter was Cody Ross. First pitch was fouled off. After two pick-off attempts, Ross grounded out to first. In 3 at bats in a tied game, in the top of the 9th inning, a prolific base stealer never left first base. Well, unless you count his lead. I know Crawford didn't play Saturday due to doctors orders, but that's due to his elbow, not feet or legs. Was Bobby V ordered not to let Crawford run? I joke, of course.
The Red Sox ended up winning the game in extra innings, so this could be considered moot. However, if you're a fan of baseball and a fan of the Red Sox, this had to infuriate you as it happened. Hey, I'm a Yankees' fan--I see this awful baseball all the time. Small ball ceases to exist in situations when certain hitters aren't asked to bunt, or in some cases can't. Homerun or bust. I'm not a fan of the pitcher hitting and do favor the DH, but I hate the way most American League teams don't play small ball.