A year from now, the pivotal defensive play of Game 1 of the National League Championship Series — the throw made by St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran to nail Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis in the 10th inning — likely would be reviewed by the umpires under the new, expanded instant replay “challenge” system that will go into effect in 2014.
And the call very well could be reversed. Replays on Friday night suggested Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina never actually tagged Ellis with his glove in the collision at the plate. But players on both teams were stunned by questions from media after the game about the play, and the consensus — supported by even Dodgers players — was that no such play should ever be reversed when the ball clearly beats the runner to the plate and the catcher holds on to it following a collision.
“In the history of baseball, no one has ever been called safe on that play [just] because [the catcher] didn’t tag them,” Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. “That would be a shame for a great defensive play like that — the great throw by Carlos and great play by Yadier at the plate to be overturned because of a technicality that he didn’t graze [the runner] with his glove. I hope that’s something that doesn’t change, because that’s an important part of the game. . . .
“There’s no umpire alive that I think would call Mark safe there because he didn’t get tagged.”
The call kept the score 2-2. Beltran would drive in the winning run in the 13th to give the Cardinals a 3-2 win and a 1-0 lead in the series. . . .
The Dodgers were without two key members of their lineup for Saturday’s Game 2 when center fielder Andre Ethier was sidelined by lingering soreness in his ankle and shortstop Hanley Ramirez was a late scratch with bruised ribs.
Coming into this postseason, Detroit Tigers veteran Jhonny Peralta had played 1,152 games at shortstop, 213 at third base — and three in the outfield. Yet in large part because Peralta was suspended for 50 games as part of the Biogenesis steroids scandal, the Tigers acquired slick-fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox, and when Peralta returned, Manager Jim Leyland converted him into a left fielder.
That left Peralta with the odd assignment of playing balls off Fenway Park’s Green Monster in the American League Championship Series.
“I’m just going to have to try to get used to it,” Peralta said.
Peralta’s only three regular-season starts in left came in the final three games of the regular season, when he became eligible. He then started Games 3 and 4 of the division series against Oakland in left before playing shortstop in the Game 5 clincher. Leyland went with Iglesias at short in Saturday’s Game 1, with Peralta back in left. “It is a little tricky to play the wall, and the Red Sox do that better because they’re used to it,” Leyland said. “As far as getting carried away, talking about the ladder, that’s ridiculous. Nobody knows what it’s going to do when it hits that thing. Just do the best you can with it.”
Leyland isn’t buying the idea Peralta’s inexperience at the position will make the Monster’s effects — including potential odd bounces off the ladder that runs up it — worse. . . .
The Red Sox tweaked their rotation from their division series victory over Tampa Bay, moving right-hander Clay Buchholz up to start Sunday’s Game 2 and bumping John Lackey back to Game 3 — a reversal of their positions against the Rays.
Buchholz pitched six innings against the Rays and allowed only Evan Longoria’s two-out, three-run homer, and he is now fully back from the shoulder bursitis that limited him to 16 starts during the season. Lackey lasted 51 / 3 innings in Game 2 against the Rays, allowing four earned runs in a game Boston won, but Manager John Farrell believes Lackey benefited from facing live hitters during a workout Friday at Fenway.
“We just feel like with the alignment that we have, it gives us the best opportunity to hopefully take control of the series,” Farrell said.
But that puts Lackey in a position where the numbers may be stacked against him — on the road. Lackey posted a 2.47 ERA and .641 on-base-plus-slugging percentage against at Fenway Park. Those numbers rose to 4.48 and .758 on the road. . . .
The Tigers added left-hander Phil Coke to their ALCS roster despite the fact the reliever hasn’t pitched in a game since Sept. 18 because of elbow tenderness. Coke takes the place of right-handed reliever Luke Putkonen. Boston kept the same 25-man roster.