Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia explain what went wrong on costly pop-up
|05.15.13 at 12:14 am ET|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It had already been a tough inning for John Lackey. The Red Sox starting pitcher, who carried a 3-0 lead into the fourth inning, had seen that advantage get flushed as an opportunistic Rays team rallied on the strength of four hits — including a check-swing double down the left-field line by Luke Scott.
With runners on second and third and two outs, Lackey’s outing stood in considerable peril. It was 3-3, and a mislocated pitch to Matt Joyce could mean two or even three runs.
But after a first-pitch swing-and-miss changeup, Lackey put a pitch right where he wanted it — a fastball that got on Joyce’s hands. Joyce popped it up a mile (“I hit it on the barrel — I hit it really well, just I hit it really high”), long enough that back down on earth below, trouble started brewing.
The footwork of Mike Napoli and Dustin Pedroia as they crept towards the ball was hesitant, uncertain and in Napoli’s case, a bit faltering. Ultimately, when the ball settled, it did so just behind Napoli and bounced on the ground; Pedroia hollered for Napoli not to touch it, to see if it might roll foul. But it stayed just inside the line, coming to a halt on the dirt of the basepaths.
Two runs scored, with the Rays claiming a 5-3 lead that ultimate provided the final margin of victory. Ballgame.
“It’s frustrating, for sure,” acknowledged Lackey. “I made a pitch, and I needed an out.”
Napoli took full responsibility for the miscue. He suggested that he didn’t lose the ball against the roof, and that instead, his problem was purely fundamental as opposed to visual.
“I didn’t make the play. I saw it up and overran it. … My first read was stay back and then I started running in and overran it,” said Napoli. “I’ve played here before (at first). It’s a white roof, but I saw the ball and like I said, I overran it.”
Pedroia countered that, given his experience playing indoors at Tropicana Field, he should have made the play.
Napoli, however, refused to accept the reprieve.
“That’s a long way for him to run. That’s a play I should’ve made and I didn’t,” said the first baseman. “Felt bad, because John’s out there, he got the guy to pop up, and if it’s a tie ball game, he probably would’ve pitched a little longer. Just overran the ball and didn’t make the play.”
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Updates on Xander Bogaerts' Wrist and Return
- Latest Updates on Joe Kelly's Injury
- Even Price Can't Stop Red Sox Rotation Giving Bad Feeling of Deja Vu
- Sandoval's Ex-Trainer Says He Has Eating Problem
- Ortiz Closing in on Top 25 in Career Home Runs
- Updates on Red Sox Star Pablo Sandoval's Injury
- Ortiz Looks Determined to Go out with a Bang
- Cup of Coffee: Benintendi continues surge, Smith rehabs
- Cup of Coffee: E-Rod rehabs, Ball debuts, Benintendi big again
- Cup of Coffee: Benintendi powers Salem past Frederick
- SoxProspects Featured Video: Michael Chavis
- Cup of Coffee: Kyri Washington rips pair of doubles in Greenville loss
- Cup of Coffee: Cuevas, Swihart lead Pawtucket on a light night
- Michael Chavis placed on disabled list with torn thumb ligament (UPDATE: report rescinded)
- Weekly Notes: Light, Cuevas get first-time call-up
- Cup of Coffee: Lakins shoves, Drive bats come alive
- Red Sox recall Light and Owens for Sunday night tilt