The situation: After a double and a ground-ball out, Kevin Youkilis stands on third base with one out in the first inning. The Red Sox lead, 1-0.
The decision: Colorado brings the infield in for Manny Ramirez's at-bat.
"With less than two outs, we play the infield in. That's something we've done for a high percentage of the time throughout the season. Offensively, they've got a lot of options. You've just got to pick your shots, when to take them. We went after Manny. That didn't work." -- HurdleTaking on 'Tek
The situation: Runners on second and third, two outs, bottom of the fourth. Colorado trails, 4-1, with Mike Lowell at the plate.
The decision: The Rockies give Lowell a free pass, intentionally walking him to face Jason Varitek with the bases loaded.The outcome: Varitek laces a two-run double, stretching the lead to five runs. The analysis: It is at least a defensible decision, given the difference in the two men's performances against left-handed pitchers. Lowell was one of Boston's best against lefties, hitting .323 with a .383 on-base percentage and a .466 slugging percentage. Varitek wasn't bad against lefties this year, putting up a .264/.388/.413 line, but not as dangerous as Lowell. Still, Jeff Francis had handled Lowell easily in two previous plate appearances, and might well have done so again.
"We passed on Lowell. He got 120 RBIs this year, so if you keep pitching to him with men on base, you're barking up the wrong tree. We made some decisions that didn't work out." -- HurdleThrown in the fire
The situation: After four innings, Colorado elects to pull the plug on Francis, who had a rough outing.
The decision: Manager Clint Hurdle calls on rookie Franklin Morales, moved to the bullpen to be a long man after pitching as a starter in the first two rounds.The outcome: Morales gets two outs with minimal damage, but six straight hitters reach after that. He doesn't survive the inning and is charged with seven runs as the game turns into a rout. The analysis: With Josh Beckett on the mound and a five-run Boston lead, it might not have mattered who Colorado pitched. But Morales entered with a grand total of seven relief appearances in his entire professional career (and none above Class A ball). He might not have been the best fit to make his Major League relief debut in a game that wasn't completely out of reach yet.
"With two outs and one man on, six straight guys got on base. So we did some things we can work on." -- Hurdle
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.