Myers injury, unlikely substitutions lead to Rays walkoff
The Rays ended up with a walkoff homer from their cleanup hitter -- but it was a backup catcher. Serendipity for Joe Maddon's club.
How they got there, however, was a story in and of itself.
Rays right fielder and cleanup hitter Wil Myers left the game with leg cramps. When it came time to replace him in the field, Rays manager Joe Maddon decided to put Matt Joyce out there. That's significant because Joyce entered the game as the designated hitter.
Then, in the eighth inning, Maddon pinch hit for starting catcher Jose Molina with Delmon Young. Heading out for the Red Sox half of the ninth, backup catcher Jose Lobaton was inserted into the lineup as catcher and Fernando Rodney came on to pitch. Maddon went with an NL-style double-switch, meaning Lobaton was now in the cleanup spot and Rodney took Molina's spot in the lineup at the nine-hole.
Lobaton was then due up third in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game and he would be the man to hit a walkoff homer. He only hit seven homers in the regular season and was facing perhaps the most dominant reliever in the American League -- who hadn't allowed a home run since June. Talk about backing into the right guy being at thet plate at the right time. Serendipity at its finest. Gotta love baseball.