Will Middlebrooks rendered ‘numb … speechless’ by Red Sox comeback
|10.14.13 at 3:04 am ET|
At the time, it hardly seemed like the at-bat that would change the course of the game and perhaps the American League Championship Series.
When he stepped to the plate with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, Will Middlebrooks was 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts against Tigers starter Max Scherzer. Though he’d been given something of a reprieve — Scherzer was out of the game after his seven overpowering innings in which he punched out 13 — at that point, Middlebrooks had done little to quell suggestions that the Sox should be turning third base over to Xander Bogaerts for the series.
But with the encouragement of Dustin Pedroia, Middlebrooks saw a world of possibility as he swung a bat to loosen for his third at-bat of the night. The Tigers had turned from Scherzer to reliever Jose Veras for the eighth inning, and the Red Sox were convinced that a rally was possible.
“We were out there during the pitching change when it was [5-1], Pedey’s looking at us going, ‘This isn’t over.’ This is in the seventh inning. He’s saying, ‘It’s not over,’ telling us, ‘This team is too good. We’re going to get into that bullpen and we’re going to beat them.’ This is during a pitching change,” Middlebrooks recounted. “To hear him say that, I don’t know if it was a confidence builder, but it was just good to hear that. We’re getting pounded pretty good by Scherzer, but to hear Pedey say, ‘We’re going to be fine; we’re going to do this,’ it was cool.”
The 25-year-old jumped on an 0-1 sinker from reliever Veras and steered it fair over third base and down the left field line for a double. At a time when the Sox trailed, 5-1, the team’s third hit of the game hardly seemed like much, but after the fact, Middlebrooks’ rally-starter turned out to be a tide-changer, the first baserunner in an inning that saw the Sox compile a walk and three hits (most notably, the game-winning grand slam from David Ortiz) against four relievers en route to a game-tying four-run rally and an eventual 6-5 win.
Middlebrooks was so excited by the end result that he admitted to losing sight of his own role in it.
“I’ve said unbelievable probably about 100 times. I’m pretty numb right now. I’m pretty speechless,” he said in the postgame clubhouse. “With all that happened after [the double], I kind of forgot about it be honest. It was like a movie, I’m just speechless right now. That was the coolest thing I’ve ever been a part of.”
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