Win or go home. That was the mindset the Red Sox had to have coming into today’s game against the Astros. Doug Fister got the start, and there were reasons to be confident given how good his postseason numbers are. Unfortunately, that’s not how things went for Fister as he only lasted 1.1 innings before being taken out. In that span, the Astros scored three times, all in the first inning. Once again, Carlos Correa hit a first inning home run, marking the third straight game the Astros had done so.
Honestly, I thought the game was over after that home run. It just got over the center field wall and the first thing I thought was, “here we go again.” Luckily though, things did not spiral out of control for the Red Sox. Joe Kelly picked up the win by getting out of the second thanks to Mookie Betts…
…and pitching a clean third inning. This made way for David Price to pitch for the first time since Friday, and he was really something else. Four complete innings to go along with four strikeouts in the lefty’s most important performance of the season. We all know about the problems Price has had in the postseason, but he looked like a different guy today. I was surprised they stretched him out for so long, and with 53 pitches today, there’s no way he pitches tomorrow. I do love what he had to say after the game, though:
The remainder of the game was wrapped up by Addison Reed and Carson Smith, who bounced back nicely from Friday’s game with two scoreless innings.
Offensively, the Red Sox showed approximately five times more life then they did in Houston. The funny thing is, all the run production came from the bottom half of the lineup. Batters 1-4 went a combined 3 for 18 with two runs scored while batters 5-9 went a combined 12 for 20 with eight runs scored and all 10 RBIs. In an inning where they easily could have scored more runs, Sandy Leon got the Red Sox scoring started in the second with an RBI single. Hanley Ramirez followed this up with an RBI single next inning, and the lead was cut to one run. After Brad Peacock was taken out of the game in favor of Francisco Liriano, Rafael Devers had a moment. On an 0-1 slider, Devers mashed his first career postseason home run into the bleachers, giving his team the lead.
The bats would take a short break, but they really turned it on in the seventh. Hanley and Devers continued their great days with some more RBI hits, and Jackie Bradley Jr. secured the W with a three-run home run off of Joe Musgrove.
One thing I found interesting was how much Hanley Ramirez was into this game. Over the span of this past season, we’ve rarely seen Hanley this fired up, but it’s been much more noticeable since last Thursday. I mean…look at that intensity.
This is what the Red Sox need. They needed their guys to step up and that is exactly what happened tonight. Rick Porcello faces off against Charlie Morton tomorrow afternoon. Another do or die game, I expect them to play just as they did today.
1 down, 10 to go.