Baseball truly can be a game of inches. Never was that more evident than Sunday, when inches decided the fate of two game-altering fly balls.
One was caught. The other should have been. The results of both helped the Boston Red Sox turn around Game 3 of their American League Division Series against the Houston Astros, and ultimately live to fight another day after pulling out a 10-3 win.
In the center of it all was Astros right fielder Josh Reddick. In the second inning, he thought he’d delivered the final blow to Boston’s season after crushing a Joe Kelly pitch to the wall. The ball threatened to leave the yard for a three-run homer, but Mookie Betts ran it down, reached into the stands and grabbed the ball before it hit the hands of a waiting fan.
That would have turned a three-run Astros lead into a six-run lead, and likely would have been the dagger in the series. It turns out the Game 3 dagger wouldn’t come until the seventh inning. That’s when Jackie Bradley Jr. skied a ball to Reddick in right field, near Pesky’s Pole.
The short wall in that area of Fenway Park often leads to adventurous moments. This was one of them. As Reddick attempted to navigate the terrain, Bradley’s fly ball went in and out of his glove, landing in the stands for a three-run home run — what Reddick thought he had five innings earlier.
JBJ WITH A PLAYOFF BING BING https://t.co/clhN17eMxS
— Red Sox Junkies (@RedSoxJunkies) October 8, 2017
Oh, the agony.
It wasn’t quite on the level of Jose Canseco assisting a home run with his head. But it’s one that will definitely stick in Reddick’s craw.
Though that play didn’t end up meaning much in the grand scheme of Game 3, it energized Fenway Park and likely helped the confidence of a Red Sox offense that lagged in Houston.
When you put both plays together, it shows just how precious every pitch and every inch can be in the postseason. A couple inches either way on either play could have changed everything, from the outcome of the game and series, to the feelings of the fans and perhaps even the outlook of players and managers involved.
What it all means now is two things: There will be a Game 4 on Monday afternoon at Fenway Park. And the Red Sox have a real shot at sending it back to Houston.
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