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The 2012 season is over for the Boston Red Sox. They are mathematically eliminated from postseason contention. Bobby Valentine has one goal right now: Learn about the players.
Can Andrew Bailey cope as the closer in this market? Is Junichi Tazawa going to be the set-up guy? Does Jose Iglesias' glove make up for his bat? What do you have in Ryan Lavarnway?
So having Iglesias, who is struggling mightily, and was 2-for-28 at the time of this decision, up at the plate in a clutch situation is probably a good learning opportunity. The Sox were playing the Toronto Blue Jays, and the game was in a scoreless tie in the seventh inning. With two outs, Pedro Ciriaco singled to bring up Iglesias.
Valentine stuck with him. The young shortstop worked the count to 2-2, with Ciriaco stealing second base on the fourth pitch. Now he's in scoring position, and Iglesias has the chance to be the hero, as even a single would allow the speedy Ciriaco to score. How's that for a much-needed confidence booster?
Apparently not good enough, as Bobby V sent Daniel Nava to pinch hit for him. In the middle of the at bat.
Whom does that help? What does that move do for anyone but crush Iglesias' confidence? Across the league, pinch hitters are batting just .202, and that's without the handicap of a ready-made two-strike count. Of course Nava grounded out on the first pitch, the inning was over, and the Sox went on to lose.
It was cheap, stupid, classless and totally indefensible.