Baseball can be a truly humbling game. Having a success rate of 30% is considered excellent in baseball, but would be abysmal in virtually any other profession. The game can also turn on a player viciously, taking someone from the loftiest of heights to the deepest of the lows in a matter of innings. Jose Lobaton managed to experience both ends of the spectrum in just about 24 hours.
Just one day after hitting a clutch home run to give the Rays their first playoff walkoff homer in team history, Lobaton once again found himself in the spotlight, this time for a different reason. With runners on first and third and two out, Joel Peralta threw a splitter in the dirt for what was ruled a wild pitch. However, Lobaton barely moved in an effort to get over to block the ball in the dirt. A run scored and, with Jacoby Ellsbury en route to second on a stolen base attempt, the Red Sox had a runner remaining on third. Shane Victorino‘s infield single played the run, and the Rays went from a 1-0 lead to behind 2-1.
If that ball had been corralled, it is possible that the Rays would have found themselves in a tie game. While there is no guarantee that the Rays would have found themselves coming out of the inning with a tie, they would have at least had a chance to escape the damage that occurred.
Lobaton had been on top of the world on Monday night, his home run the difference as the Rays had another life in the ALCS. Now, just a day later, Lobaton can be pointed to as the main reason as to why the Rays gave up two runs in that ill-fated seventh inning.
Jose Lobaton has gone from hero to goat. What a difference a day makes.