Red Sox postgame show whines about Willson Contreras pitch clock gamesmanship

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Willson Contreras #40 of the St. Louis Cardinals. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Willson Contreras #40 of the St. Louis Cardinals. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Willson Contreras’ savvy gamesmanship to trap Kenley Jansen into two pitch clock violations didn’t sit well with the Red Sox postgame show.

The Willson Contreras villain arc has been the best thing in baseball this week and it only got better on Saturday.

It all started in Chicago when, on the heels of getting stripped of catcher duties, Contreras turned heel and gleefully goaded Cubs fans into booing on his return to Wrigley field. Then, in Boston, the DH played mind games with Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen to the tune of two pitch clock violations.

Contreras came up second in the top of the ninth after a four-pitch walk for Paul Goldschmidt. He drew a walk himself with the aid of two automatic balls as he baited the pitcher into beginning his delivery before the batter signaled himself ready to receive a pitch. That’s a violation.

It’s a confusing part of the pitch clock rule, but one that Contreras played to his advantage. It would have been sweet enough to get Jansen once, but the fact that the pitcher got caught again to complete the walk made it clear the batter had his number.

The Red Sox postgame show was not as appreciative of the strategy.

Red Sox postgame show whines about Willson Contreras drawing pitch clock violations

Sure, it sucked to be a Red Sox fan after Jansen melted down and allowed three runs to blow the save. But that’s not on Contreras, who was exploiting a rule that Jansen needed to be live to.

Jansen took responsibility after the game, acknowledging that it was his fault for not fully understanding all elements of the rule.

Conteras did his job: To get in the pitcher’s head and help his team win the baseball game.

“That’s what the pitch clock allows you to do,” Contreras said via “I know some closers like to get their rhythm, but my job as a batter is to not give them that rhythm. So I was letting the clock come all the way down to eight [seconds]. It’s not my fault, and it’s something that I use for me. Whether it’s in my favor or not my favor, it’s for the team. It worked out today.”

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