John Farrell explains why he pinch-hit for Andrew Benintendi, not Jackie Bradley Jr. (Jeff Griffith/USA Today Sports)
John Farrell hadn’t made any glaring mistakes in-game over the course of the first two games of the ALDS against the Indians, until the seventh inning of Game 3.
The Red Sox trailed 4-2 and left-hander Andrew Miller was on the mound for the Indians. After Xander Bogaerts grounded out, Chris Young pinch-hit for Andrew Benintendi and not Jackie Bradley Jr. two spots after him, who at that point hadn’t recorded a hit in the series and was 0 for his last 19 dating back to the regular season.
Young walked and then Sandy Leon lined out and Bradley Jr. struck out.
“We were looking to matchup as best we can. Chris Young was brought in for that very reason against left-handed pitching. We’re looking to matchup to get the best advantage we can,” Farrell said.
The move of not pinch-hitting for Bradley came up again in the ninth inning with right-hander closer Cody Allen on the mound. Instead of potentially having Benintendi-Leon-Young due, it was Young-Leon-Bradley Jr.
Young and Leon were retired before Bradley Jr. singled to right and Dustin Pedroia walked, but Travis Shaw popped up to end the game and the season.
Farrell further expanded on his decision to pinch-hit for Benintendi and not Bradley Jr. back in the seventh.
“The number of pitches he’s thrown, if we wait to get to Jackie in that inning, we may never get there,” he said. “And then they are going to go to [right-hander Bryan] Shaw with the right-handers coming in the next inning. That’s the shot we took with him. He draws the walk, starts with the potential of getting something going. Either Benintendi or Jackie is going to get an at-bat if that inning gets extended. But if it’s not, not going to get left with the pinch-hit starting the next inning, and then they go to Shaw to lead things off.”
The explanation really doesn’t make much sense, but in the end Bradley Jr. did single in the ninth inning, so perhaps the move in the seventh inning didn’t matter in the end, but still will be something Red Sox fans will remember into the offseason.