Sticking with Sandy
Many were surprised to see Sandy Leon‘s name in the lineup for Game 3. Boston struggled to score runs in the two games in Houston, so starting a backup catcher who hit .225 this season seemed counter-productive.
Christian Vazquez finished the year strong and established himself as a lock to start every game at Fenway Park, where he hit .348 with a .905 OPS this season. With the series shifting back to Boston it was assumed Vazquez would be the catcher behind the plate.
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Farrell cited Leon’s rapport with Doug Fister as the reason for putting him in the lineup. It’s one thing to let Leon catch every game for ace Chris Sale but does a pitcher scooped up off the scrap heap to fill the No. 5 spot in the rotation really need a personal catcher? The decision seemed to backfire when Fister couldn’t make it out of the second inning.
While Leon wasn’t in the lineup for his bat, he ultimately ended up doing his part to come through. He was 2-for-4 with an RBI, matching his production from Game 1. Hey, 2016 Sandy is back!
Leon’s base hit to center in the second inning drove in Mitch Moreland to put the Red Sox on the board. That would prove to be the only run Boston would score in a frame that began with them loading the bases with nobody out. As disappointing as it was to see the lineup squander the chance for a big inning, Leon ensured that they would get something out of it.