The mothers of Red Sox Nation got a great gift Sunday, courtesy of Baltimore Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo.

Good ole Sam overmanaged in the ninth inning and allowed the Red Sox to pull off their best comeback of the 2007 season.

In case you were taking Mom out to Taco Bell and missed it, here’s what happened. The Sox were losing 5-0 in the ninth. O’s starter Jeremy Guthrie was cruising. He’d faced just two batters over the minimum and had retired the last eight when his catcher, Ramon Hernandez, dropped a Coco Crisp pop-up in front of the plate with one out.

Now, this error didn’t put the tying run in the on-deck circle, mind you. It didn’t even put it in the Cask `N Flagon. Yet Perlozzo scurried out of the dugout like he was rescuing a wayward puppy from Center Street at 5 p.m. and pulled Guthrie, after just 91 pitches, in favor of the immortal Danys Baez.

You probably know the rest – Baez imploded, Perlozzo brought in closer Chris Ray, Ray got Julio Lugo to hit a bases-loaded grounder to Kevin Millar at first, who threw to Ray covering at the bag. Ray dropped the throw, and the tying and winning runs scored.

While some placed the blame on Millar for making a less-than-ideal toss to Ray (I know Millar misses the Red Sox, but would he throw a game for them?), and others pointed the finger at Ray for not handling the throw, it was Perlozzo who lost the game for the O’s, simply by playing the game by the book.

You know The book, the one Major League managers slavishly cling to when they must make the most critical decisions in a game. Common sense goes out the window. Your eyes, even if they’ve told you for eight innings that your starter is unhittable, are not to be trusted. The book is to be followed at all times.

Tony LaRussa wrote the book back in the late 1980s when he was managing the Oakland A’s. LaRussa decided then that, come hell or high water, his starters were only going to pitch eight innings and then give the ball to Dennis Eckersley in the ninth.

It worked pretty well for LaRussa and the A’s, but that’s because their closer was Dennis Freakin’ Eckersley, a guy who, other than giving up one ridiculously lucky home run to Kirk Gibson, was the surest thing this side of A Nightmare on Elm Street sequel around that time.

That’s Dennis Eckersley, not Danys Baez, Sammy. When you’re counting on Danys Baez in the late innings, you throw the book out, at least when your starter is making the opposition look silly.

Even your Mom knows that, Sam.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.