Game Notes from Rays/Red Sox (Game 4 of 2013 ALDS)

In an effort to extend their series with the Red Sox to five games, the Tampa Bay Rays used nine pitchers in Game 4. That’s crazy. Or it’s not. It’s crazy until you consider the context. Rays’ manager Joe Maddon was rightly criticized for leaving his starting pitchers in too long in Games 1 and 2, costing the Rays a chance at winning. With the season on the line, all hands were on deck for Game 4.

Maddon threw almost everyone on his staff. He changed pitchers nearly every inning in an attempt to keep the Sox off-balance. In a regular season game, this might be insane. But, when it’s win-or-go-home, it makes perfect sense. The Red Sox had owned Rays’ pitching, so why not try something unique? The Rays lost Game 4 and were eliminated, but not because of their pitching. They lost because they simply couldn’t score. In the end, Maddon’s strategy worked to limit a Sox offense that seemed unstoppable.

There’s a life lesson here (isn’t there always?).

When your back is against the wall, it’s time to do something different. When your coaching methods aren’t working, change them. When you keep failing as a player, figure out a different approach. When your marriage is falling apart, do something drastic to save it. You get the point. Until we get desperate, change won’t happen. And if change doesn’t happen, your results are guaranteed never to change.

Joe Maddon figured out a way to slow down a machine-like Red Sox offense, but it required doing something unconventional. The same is true for you and me. What are you desperate to see happen? The same old, same old won’t get you there.