Pitching to Puig
Kinsler will get, and deserves, the majority of the blame for the Game 3 loss. However, we can’t overlook the decision by his manager that put the team in that spot to begin with.
Muncy made a heads up base running play to get to second when Nunez dove into the stands to catch a foul ball off the bat of Bellinger. Maybe Nunez would have been better off letting the ball land foul and hoping Eovaldi could retire the batter another way that didn’t put the tying run in scoring position yet we have to respect the fearless effort to put his body on the line trying to win.
The play meant first base was open, meaning Eovaldi didn’t have to pitch to Puig. Putting the winning run on base in extra-innings is undoubtedly a dangerous move. So is pitching to Puig. Especially when the batter on deck is Austin Barnes, a backup catcher who hit .205 this season and is 2-for-24 in the postseason. They can’t pinch-hit for Barnes because he had already replaced Yasmani Grandal earlier in the game and the Dodgers don’t have another catcher on the roster. Barnes predictably flied out to end the inning but only after the damage had been done to tie the game.
If they intentionally walk Puig to leave it up to Barnes, the Red Sox win this game, pushing the Dodgers to the brink of elimination. Instead, the Red Sox gave the Dodgers new life by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.