It was the eighth inning of Game 1 of the ALDS between the Red Sox and the Angels. Los Angeles had only mustered one unearned run off of the spectacular Jon Lester and was down by a run. Mark Teixeira had just been robbed by Jacoby Ellsbury, but Red Sox rookie reliever Justin Masterson was looking shaky. Vladimir Guerrero gets a base hit. Then Torii Hunter follows with a pop fly behind first base which dropped in behind Kevin Youkilis.
What followed was the decision that wound up dooming the Angels in Game 1: Guerrero went for third base and was out by a mile. The Red Sox would go on to win 4-1.
Hunter said he was surprised Guerrero tried to go from first to third on the play.
"Vladdy was aggressive. That's what we've been known for, but sometimes you have to be kind of smart," Hunter said. "Sometimes it's good to be aggressive, and sometimes it's bad to be aggressive. But Vladdy is Vladdy. He thought he could make it, but it just didn't work out."
Torii Hunter didn't say it in so many words, but I will: What the heck was Vladdy thinking? The Angels had a rookie behind the eight ball and had two runners on ... but Guerrero, not known for being a clutch October player, but with two hits Wednesday, did Masterston a huge favor by taking an unnecessary chance with one out. Now to be fair, the next batter, Howie Kendrick, grounded out 6-4 to end the inning so even if Guerrero didn't go anywhere that ball still would have been a double play. But perhaps with first and second and one out Masterston pitches differently in response to a more juiced up crowd, thus a different result other than a grounder to short. Instead, Masterson settled down and ended the eighth without incident, setting up Jonathan Papelbon for the ninth. Any way you slice it, it was a huge turn of events for the Angels.