Farrell plays it safe with Tazawa, and it costs Sox

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BOSTON - It was a fairly under-the-radar roster move on a day where Shane Victorino was activated, Blake Swihart was placed on the DL, and Jackie Bradley Jr. was optioned to the PawSox.

But there was reliever Noe Ramirez, also called up to the Red Sox for bullpen depth.

Nobody expected Ramirez's MLB debut to come in such an important part of the game. Sure enough, though, Ramirez trotted out from the bullpen in the top of the 10th inning of an 8-8 game.

The Sox had already gone through four other relievers (including Koji Uehara, who John Farrell didn't want to send back out), and although Junichi Tazawa wasn't one of them, Ramirez got the nod.

After the game, we'd find out why Farrell went with Ramirez - who proceeded to allow four runs (two earned) in the 10th inning - over Tazawa.

"He needed the series off in Toronto given how much the work load was in Tampa Bay," Farrell said. "He threw a bullpen earlier today. After the bullpen he was deemed OK and yet advised not be used tonight -- to not get him warmed up or hot twice in one day. He will be available for tomorrow, but that was what the plan laid out to get on the mound today, but not be available tonight. Otherwise he would be in the eighth or the tenth, either of those situations."

Tazawa has not pitched since Jun. 28, when he went 1.2 innings (30 pitches) against the Rays. He also pitched 1.1 innings (15 pitches) on Jun. 26 against the Rays. Add in his 1.0 inning (14 pitches) on June 24 (vs. the Orioles) and Tazawa made 59 pitches over a five-day stretch - on the high side, certainly.

Still, not once this year has Tazawa had five days rest, and it's kind of hard to believe he couldn't have pitched Friday night, or the team couldn't have worked his bullpen session in a way that would have allowed him to be available. After all, he checked out OK, according to Farrell.

Instead, Farrell stuck to the plan from earlier in the day despite the circumstance that presented itself in the 10th inning, and put in a kid who's never thrown a pitch in the majors in his life.

And based on how things went in the 10th, it was the deciding factor in the game.

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