Finally: Mike Carp takes advantage of long-awaited opportunity with walkoff
|07.10.14 at 11:44 pm ET|
For nearly a month, first baseman Mike Carp sat on the couch of the Red Sox clubhouse in pain. The pain was not so much the result of the broken bone in his right foot that left him in a walking boot, but instead from his inability to help the team in situations that normally called for his skill set. There was nothing Carp could do except sit and cheer on his teammates, despite his desire to help the team through its struggles. As the team struggled through the month of June, winning 12 and dropping 16 games, all Carp could do was wait until his foot healed.
“Some of the nights, you almost have to turn the TV off when those situations come because you can’t be there to help,” Carp said. “It hurts so bad to see your brothers struggling and want to be able to contribute and fill your role.”
On Thursday, Carp finally got that opportunity and made the most of it, delivering a walkoff single in the bottom of the 10th that sent the Red Sox to a 4-3 victory.
After Daniel Nava reached on a pinch-hit walk to lead off the 10th, Mookie Betts advanced Nava to second base with a sacrifice bunt. White Sox manager Robin Ventura decided to intentionally walk Stephen Drew, owner of a .128 batting average, with David Ross due to hit next. Instead of Ross, Red Sox manager John Farrell decided to pinch-hit Carp. With the winning run at second base in the form of Nava and the score tied in the 10th inning, Carp felt that he had a feel for how White Sox reliever Ronald Belisario would attack him.
“I figured that [Belisario] was going to come in,” Carp said. “He attacked me heavily the whole series. I only got three at-bats, but after he went away on the 1-2 pitch, I assumed something would be out over the plate.”
Carp executed and knocked a single through the left side of the infield, driving in Nava with the winning run and notching the Red Sox‘ second straight walkoff win in the series finale. Carp was just happy to finally contribute after his stint on the disabled list.
“It was great to come in [a] crucial situation, pinch-hit situations and do my job,” Carp said. “It’s a tough gig to be expected to get the hit there and it was nice to even it out.”
Carp, hitting .219 with a .318 on-base percentage and a .288 slugging percentage with seven RBIs in 2014, embraces the pinch-hit role.
“It’s part of my role and me accepting my role,” Carp said. “The moment I did that, good things started happening and I really prepare myself.”
Throughout Carp’s tenure with the Red Sox, Farrell has displayed a lot of trust in the 28-year-old in pinch-hitting situations.
“When we’ve been in those late inning situations, [Carp]’s had a number of opportunities over the course of the last year-plus,” Farrell said. “Finally getting back to us on those two consecutive days in key moments and today he comes through. He was able to bunch those few hits with the walks that we were able to draw, and timely hitting today was the key.”
Given the opportunity to finally contribute in a role he has flourished in since the Red Sox acquired him in February of 2013, Carp was ready to contribute to a winning effort. In the 10th inning, the situation played out exactly how bench coach Torey Lovullo predicted, giving Carp the opportunity to prepare himself, physically and mentally.
“It lined up exactly how [Lovullo and I] talked about it,” Carp said. “It was just really cool to see everything fall right in line and the dominoes fall over.”
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