How it worked out for the Red Sox
Cora stuck with Renfroe and the decision failed to pan out when he grounded out to first base, leaving the Red Sox down to their final out.
Christian Arroyo kept the rally hopes alive with a base hit but Bobby Dalbec followed by watching strike three over the middle of the plate to end the game.
Would the outcome have been any different if the Red Sox had used a pinch-hitter for Renfroe? We’ll never know. There are various realistic outcomes that could have worked in Boston’s favor though.
The power of Renfroe might have been a factor in leaving him in to hit. Perhaps Cora was hoping that Renfroe would run into one to tie the game. His chances of going deep were about as strong as anyone else at Cora’s disposal in that moment.
Boston didn’t necessarily need a homer though. The chances of any hitter available on the bench reaching base were significantly higher in that situation than Renfroe’s chances against Hendriks. Imagine if a pinch-hitter managed to get on base ahead of Arroyo’s single. The Red Sox would have two on with only one out for Dalbec.
It was clear that Dalbec was swinging for the fences looking to end the game with a walk-off. Granted, that’s what he does during most of his trips to the plate. His approach would have been different if he knew a base hit would be enough to tie the game or if there were men on the corners with one out where a sac fly would get the job done.
Getting the second batter of the inning on base any way possible could have drastically altered how the remainder of the inning played out. Renfroe had the lowest odds of avoiding an out against Hendriks, which is why it was surprising that Cora didn’t pinch-hit in that situation. The Red Sox have a deep roster with players who complement each other’s strengths and mask their weaknesses. Failing to take advantage of that might have cost them this game.