Red Sox set 26-man roster for ALCS vs. Astros: Darwinzon Hernandez, Hirokazu Sawamura added; Matt Barnes, Austin Davis left off

The Red Sox have released their 26-man roster for their matchup against the Astros in the American League Championship Series, which kicks off at Minute Maid Park on Friday night.

Boston’s roster for their second ALCS with Houston in the last four seasons will consist of 13 pitchers and 13 position players, as was the case for the American League Division Series against the Rays that the Sox won three-games-to-one.

Of the 26 players who were included on the Red Sox’ ALDS roster, two have been left off for the upcoming ALCS. Those two would be a pair of relievers in Matt Barnes and Austin Davis.

Barnes was not named to Boston’s initial ALDS roster last week, but was later added after fellow right-hander Garrett Richards had to be removed on account of a left hamstring strain.

Davis, meanwhile, was one of five left-handers to make the Sox’ ALDS roster alongside the likes of Martin Perez, Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, and Josh Taylor.

This time around, however, Davis has been taken off the club’s ALCS roster in favor of another southpaw in Darwinzon Hernandez. Barnes, on the other hand, has essentially been replaced by the right-handed Hirokazu Sawamura.

Neither Hernandez or Sawamura were active for the Wild Card Game or Division Series, so the ALCS will mark their first action of the postseason.

With that being said, here is the Red Sox’ full ALCS roster:

Pitchers (13): Ryan Brasier, Nathan Eovaldi, Darwinzon Hernandez, Tanner Houck, Adam Ottavino, Martín Pérez, Nick Pivetta, Hansel Robles, Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, Hirokazu Sawamura, Josh Taylor, Garrett Whitlock

Catchers (2): Kevin Plawecki, Christian Vázquez

Infielders (5): Christian Arroyo, Xander Bogaerts, Bobby Dalbec, Rafael Devers, Travis Shaw

Outfielders (4): J.D. Martinez, Hunter Renfroe, Kyle Schwarber, Alex Verdugo

Infielder/Outfielders (2): Kiké Hernández, Danny Santana

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Rafael Devers dealing with right forearm discomfort, per report

Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers is experiencing discomfort in his right forearm, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier and Michael Silverman.

Per Speier and Silverman, the issue comes into focus when Devers swings and misses while at the plate, though it does not present a problem when he makes contact.

In the midst of a 1-for-4 performance in which he struck out twice in Thursday’s 5-0 loss to the Rays in Game 1 of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field, the 24-year-old slugger appeared to show some signs of discomfort in his right arm/wrist area whenever he would swing-and-miss at a pitch.

Of the five times Devers whiffed on Thursday night, there were at least one or two times where he seemingly grimaced while dropping his bat from his right hand.

As noted by Speier and Silverman, this has been a common occurrence for Devers for the last few weeks, and the two link his recent actions in the batter’s box to when he first started wearing a compression sleeve ” that stretches above and below his elbow” on September 26.

Following Thursday’s loss to Tampa Bay, Devers — who declined to speak with the media on his way to the team bus — was seen wearing “the same or similar compression sleeve he wore during the game on his right arm,” per Speier and Silverman.

When asked postgame if his All-Star infielder was dealing with an injury of some sort, Red Sox manager Alex Cora played coy, instead citing that Devers is just experiencing the typical wear-and-tear a 162-game season has to offer.

“After 162 [games], things happen and you get treatment, and you grind, you know?” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo). “Not everybody is 100% right now, and he is posting.”

Leading up to Thursday’s ALDS opener, there were a few instances where Devers showed the same signs of discomfort by dropping his bat and flexing his right arm upon coming up empty on a swing in Sunday’s win over the Nationals and Tuesday’s Wild Card Game victory over the Yankees at Fenway Park.

On Sunday specifically, Devers homered twice as part of a four-hit showing that guaranteed the Sox a spot in the Wild Card Game. On Tuesday, while going 0-for-2 with a pair of walks and a strikeout, Devers again dropped his bat more than once.

With that being said, though Cora — as pointed out by Cotillo — “eluded to a theory that Devers was ‘setting up’ opposing pitchers” in a way by dropping his bat.

“A few days ago everybody said he was setting up the pitcher whenever he drops the bat,” Cora said Thursday night. “Today because he (got one hit), he is hurt.”

Speier and Silverman added on to this by noting that Cora would not want to reveal too much about what is going on with Devers since it “would fuel, to some extent, the Rays’ plan for how they would attack him the rest of the series.”

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Eduardo Rodriguez lasts just 1 2/3 innings as Red Sox come out flat in 5-0 shutout loss to Rays to open ALDS

Just two days after it looked like all the momentum was on their side after eliminating the Yankees in the Wild Card Game, the Red Sox came out flat against the Rays on Thursday night.

Boston dropped Game 1 of the American League Division Series to Tampa Bay by a final score of 5-0 at Tropicana Field, meaning their backs are now somewhat against the wall moving forward.

Eduardo Rodriguez, making just his second career postseason start for the Sox and first overall appearance since Sunday, was not at his sharpest in Thursday’s series opener.

Over just 1 2/3 innings of work, the left-hander allowed two runs — both of which were earned — on two hits and two walks to go along with one strikeout in what will go down as one of his shortest outings of the year.

Right out of the gate, Rodriguez ran into trouble when he issued a leadoff walk to Randy Arozarena in the bottom of the first inning. He then yielded a line-drive double to rookie sensation Wander Franco, one in which Enrique Hernandez struggled to come up with cleanly in center field.

As a result of Hernandez bobbling the ball as he made the transfer from his glove hand to his throwing hand, the speedy Arozarena scored all the way from first base to give the Rays an early 1-0 lead.

Nelson Cruz proceeded to move Franco up to third base on a fly out to left field, and Yandy Diaz doubled his side’s advantage by plating him on a softly-hit infield single down the third base line.

That sequence put the Sox in an almost-immediate two-run hole. And while Rodriguez was able to get through the first, his day came to an end after he surrendered another leadoff walk and got the first two outs of the second.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 41 (24 strikes), Rodriguez may very well have made his final start in a Red Sox uniform on Thursday. The 28-year-old is about to become a free agent for the first time later this winter.

With the Rays lineup flipping over for the second time in the second inning, Sox manager Alex Cora turned to Garrett Richards out of the bullpen in relief of Rodriguez. Richards retired the lone batter he faced in Arozarena before making way for Nick Pivetta beginning in the bottom of the third.

Pivetta, who was considered as a candidate to Start Game 1, at the very least provided Boston with some length. In his 4 2/3 innings on the mound, the right-hander gave up three runs (all earned) on four hits, two walks, and four strikeouts.

Cruz took Pivetta deep off the C-Ring of Tropicana Field’s roof with the bases empty and two outs in the third inning. After facing the minimum in a scoreless fourth, the righty again yielded a towering solo shot to a red-hot Arozarena to lead off the fifth, thus increasing his side’s deficit to four runs.

Arozarena stole the spotlight once more in the seventh inning after drawing a two-out walk. Following a double from Franco that advanced Arozarena up to third base and a pitching change that saw left-hander Josh Taylor replace Pivetta, the Rays’ speedster took advantage of the Red Sox’ shifted infield by stealing home.

In catching Taylor and Christian Vazquez off guard, Arozarena used his wheels to make it a 5-0 contest in favor of Tampa Bay.

Up until that point in the night, the Boston lineup had been held in check by an impressive opposing pitching staff.

Rays rookie starter Shane McClanahan kept the Sox off the scoreboard in the process of scattering five hits and zero walks over five scoreless frames, while relievers J.T. Chargois and David Robertson combined to do the same in the top half of the sixth and seventh.

Going into the eighth inning with right-hander J.P. Feyereisen on the mound for the Rays, Christian Arroyo led off with a single and moved up to second on a one-out knock off the bat of Kyle Schwarber.

Both runners then advanced an additional 90 feet when Xander Bogaerts blooped another single to shallow center field, filling the bases with one out for the heart of the order.

The heart of Boston’s order, however, could not deliver, as Rafael Devers fanned on a foul tip and Hunter Renfroe popped out into foul territory to extinguish the threat.

Adam Ottavino was able to hold the Rays at five runs with a clean bottom of the eighth, but it went for naught after Feyereisen put up another zero in the top half of the ninth and final inning.

All in all, the Sox went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position while leaving eight runners on base as a team in the process of getting shut out in a postseason game for the first time since Game 2 of 2016 ALDS against the Indians.

With the 5-0 loss, the Red Sox now trail the Rays one game to nothing in this best-of-five series.

Next up: Sale vs. Baz in Game 2

The Red Sox will turn to ace left-hander Chris Sale as they look to even this division series against the Rays at one game apiece on Friday night. Tampa Bay will counter by sending another rookie in right-hander Shane Baz to the hill.

First pitch from Tropicana Field on Friday is scheduled for 7:02 p.m. eastern time on FS1.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox set roster for ALDS vs. Rays: J.D. Martinez active; Matt Barnes, Jarren Duran among those left off

The Red Sox have released their roster for their matchup against the Rays in the American League Division Series, which kicks off at Tropicana Field later Thursday night.

After being left off the Sox’ Wild Card game roster earlier this week on account of a left ankle sprain, J.D. Martinez is back in the fold and will be active for this upcoming series, though it remains to be seen if he will be able to start in Game 1.

Martinez had to be held out of action in Tuesday’s win over the Yankees after tripping over the second-base bag while jogging out to right field in Sunday’s contest against the Nationals at Nationals Park.

The 34-year-old slugger twisted his left ankle as a result and was left with an injury that Red Sox manager Alex Cora had previously described as “very serious” due to the level of swelling.

Joining Martinez on Boston’s ALDS roster after being left off for the Wild Card Game are left-handers Chris Sale and Martin Perez and utility man Danny Santana. Sale is expected to start Game 2 of this series on Friday.

In order to accommodate the additions of these four, the Sox removed the likes of catcher Connor Wong, infielder Jonathan Arauz, and outfielder Jarren Duran after including the young trio in their Wild Card Game roster for depth purposes.

Matt Barnes, who was active but did not pitch in Tuesday’s victory over New York, was also removed, making him one of the more notable omissions from Boston’s ALDS roster.

On top of that, Hirokazu Sawamura and Darwinzon Hernandez were also left off the team’s roster after neither reliever was active for Tuesday’s Wild Card Game at Fenway Park.

With this series of transactions, the Red Sox will be rolling with 13 pitchers and 13 position players against the Rays after going with 12 pitchers and 14 position players against the Yankees.

As previously mentioned, Barnes being left off is notable, though it does not come as much of a surprise given how things have gone for him lately. The 31-year-old right-hander began the 2021 season by locking down the closer’s role out of the Boston bullpen.

Through the end of July, Barnes had posted a 2.30 ERA and 2.15 FIP while converting 23 of a possible 27 save opportunities in the process of being named to his first All-Star team. He also signed a two-year, $18.75 million contract extension on July 11, but has not been the same since the calendar flipped to August.

From the start of August through the end of the season, Barnes struggled to the tune of a 9.26 ERA and 7.11 FIP over 17 appearances (11 2/3 innings pitched) while also testing positive for COVID-19 and missing a significant amount of time as a result.

Without Barnes on the ALDS roster, the Sox added Sale — who was not available to pitch on Tuesday after starting on Sunday — and Perez, who becomes the extra pitcher after being inactive for the Wild Card Game.

While Barnes is undoubtedly the most notable player left off Boston’s roster for their best-of-five series against Tampa Bay, Santana is the most surprising addition.

Despite having not played in a big-league game since September 10, Santana was activated off the COVID-19 related injured list and added to the club’s ALDS squad.

In order to make room for Santana on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox outrighted infielders Jose Iglesias and Yairo Munoz to Triple-A Worcester.

By outrighting Iglesias, who was not eligible for the postseason since he signed after Sept. 1, the Sox were able to create space for the switch-hitting Santana, who is capable of providing the club with defensive versatility and speed off the bench.

Full Red Sox ALDS Roster:

Pitchers (13): Ryan Brasier, Austin Davis, Nathan Eovaldi, Tanner Houck, Adam Ottavino, Martín Pérez, Nick Pivetta, Garrett Richards, Hansel Robles, Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, Josh Taylor, Garrett Whitlock

Catchers (2): Kevin Plawecki, Christian Vázquez

Infielders (5): Christian Arroyo, Xander Bogaerts, Bobby Dalbec, Rafael Devers, Travis Shaw

Outfielders (4): J.D. Martinez, Hunter Renfroe, Kyle Schwarber, Alex Verdugo

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Red Sox tab Eduardo Rodriguez to start Game 1 of ALDS vs. Rays; Chris Sale likely to start second game of best-of-5 series

The Red Sox have tabbed Eduardo Rodriguez to start Game 1 of the American Division series against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Thursday night.

Rodriguez will start opposite a fellow southpaw in the form of Rays rookie Shane McClanahan, as first pitch Thursday is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. eastern time on FS1.

Over the course of the season, Rodriguez certainly experienced his fair share of ups and downs after missing all of year due to myocarditis (inflammation of the heart of muscle) that came as a result of a bout with COVID-19.

In 32 outings (31 starts) this year, the 28-year-old left-hander posted a 4.74 ERA over 157 2/3 innings of work, though he put up a much more respectable 3.32 FIP in that same time frame.

On top of that, Rodriguez ended his regular season on a high-note by pitching to the tune of a 3.26 ERA and 3.07 FIP over his final 12 appearances (11 starts) and 58 innings pitched from August 4 on.

While matched up against the Rays at Tropicana Field on two separate occasions this season, Rodriguez allowed a total of five runs (three earned) on 11 hits, two walks, and 13 strikeouts over 12 innings of work. That’s good for an ERA of 2.25 — as well as an OPS against of .625.

When asked on Wednesday why he decided to give the ball to Rodriguez for the opening contest of a pivotal best-of-five series against a division rival on the road, Red Sox manager Alex Cora offered a simple explanation.

“He has been throwing the ball well,” Cora said. “We think it’s a good matchup. Obviously with them you have to mix and match. They’re going to look for an advantage and all that. We’ll have Nick [Pivetta] in the bullpen tomorrow, and we’ll do what we do.”

Cora went on to say that the Sox still have plenty of decisions to make by the time rosters are due on Thursday, but he also emphasized how the team trusts in Rodriguez given the lefty’s past success in St. Petersburg.

“We feel Eddie has been there, done that,” said Cora. “He threw the ball well here before just like others on our pitching staff, so we feel very comfortable with him.”

Rodriguez will be making just his second career postseason start on Thursday night, representing another important milestone as he looks to build on what has already been a rejuvenating 2021 campaign.

“I’m very proud of him,” Cora said. “First thing is first, last year was a very difficult year for him not being able to play because of health issues. And the fact that he will be the starter tomorrow, I know it means a lot to him and his family. You know, his support system has been amazing throughout, and we are very proud of him.

“I mean, what he has done this season, regardless of the up and downs, he didn’t throw the ball extremely well at one point,” added Cora. “But he has been very consistent throughout. And he has been making adjustments every start and, you know, he has been getting better and better.”

As for who will follow Rodriguez and start for Boston in Game 2 of the ALDS, Cora has yet to make anything official, though he did say that “there’s a good chance” that responsibility will fall to Chris Sale.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

RHP Heath Hembree to Take Steven Wright’s Spot on #RedSox ALDS Roster.

After Alex Cora announced Friday night that knuckleballer Steven Wright was unavailable for Game One of the ALDS because of an issue with his left knee, the Red Sox announced today that RHP Heath Hembree will take Wright’s spot on the team’s current 25-man postseason roster.

To no one’s surprise, Hembree (4-1, 4.20 ERA) did not make the original cut for the ALDS roster, but with Wright going down with inflammation in his left knee, the available spot went to him rather than other options such as Bobby Poyner, Brian Johnson, or Hector Velazquez to name a few.

Over the course of the regular season, the 34-year-old Wright spent 80 days on the disabled list with other knee issues.

Given what took place in relief of Chris Sale on Friday, the Red Sox bullpen situation has gotten even more shaky following this move.

Although he did mess plenty of time this season, Wright provided stability (3-1, 2.68 ERA) both in the starting rotation and as a reliever. Him being out for the remainder of this division series is certainly a hefty blow, how the rest of Boston’s ‘pen responds should be something to watch for beginning tonight.

Predicting the #RedSox’ 25-Man ALDS Roster.

The Red Sox are headed to the postseason for the third consecutive year following one of, if not the best regular season in franchise history. As the top seed in the American League, they’ll take on the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees in a five-game series that starts this upcoming Friday.

With that in mind, I thought I would go ahead and try my luck at predicting how Alex Cora will construct his 25-man roster for the ALDS. Here’s what I came up with.

Pitchers:

*LHP Chris Sale
*LHP David Price
LHP Eduardo Rodriguez
*RHP Nathan Eovaldi
*RHP Rick Porcello
RHP Steven Wright
RHP Matt Barnes
RHP Ryan Brasier
RHP Brandon Workman
LHP Bobby Poyner
RHP Craig Kimbrel

Some pretty obvious choices here. Sale, Price, Porcello, and Eovaldi will most likely be the starters depending on how long the series goes, and guys like Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright provide a different look out of the bullpen.

In terms of whose on the bubble, you could make the case that both Bobby Poyner and Brandon Workman are interchangeable with other relievers left off, such as Brian Johnson, who started Friday night’s game against the Yankees, or even Joe Kelly.

Personally, I believe Rodriguez would be the go-to option for a longer role out of the ‘pen if multiple innings are needed, while Poyner would be more of a situational pitcher to come in and get a specific hitter out.

Catchers:

C Sandy Leon
C Christian Vazquez
C Blake Swihart

Yes, the Red Sox probably will be one of the only teams in this postseason field to carry three catchers on their roster, but it is necessary.

For starters, Sandy Leon has the trust of the pitching staff, while Christian Vazquez excels in throwing out runners on the base paths.

Blake Swihart on the other hand, I would expect him to mostly be utilized as a pinch runner off the bench.

Infielders:

1B Steve Pearce
1B Mitch Moreland
2B Ian Kinsler
2B Brock Holt
3B Eduardo Nunez
3B Rafael Devers
SS Xander Bogaerts

A few weeks ago, it seemed as though Eduardo Nunez had seemingly taken over at third base, which left Rafael Devers without a real role. But, with Nunez going down for a few days with hamstring tightness, Devers has emerged with solid play both at the plate and the hot corner lately, as he is slashing .300/.378/.650 with four homers and 10 RBI over his last 10 games.

As for what’s happening on the right side of the infield, Ian Kinsler, with the elite defense he provides, should be handling the majority of duties at second base, while Brock Holt, who owns a 1.621 OPS as a pinch hitter this season, should be one of the first bats off the bench in a close game.

And at first base, it’s pretty simple. Mitch Moreland will get the majority of at bats against right-handed pitchers, while Steve Pearce will be facing lefties.

Outfielders:

OF Mookie Betts
OF Andrew Benintendi
OF Jackie Bradley Jr.
OF/DH JD Martinez

Not much to say here. Benintendi in left, Bradley Jr. in center, Mookie Betts in right, and JD Martinez DH’ing.

If I were to guess, I would say the game one lineup against New York or Oakland will look something like this.

  1. Betts, RF
  2. Benintendi, LF
  3. Martinez, DH
  4. Bogaerts, SS
  5. Devers, 3B
  6. Pearce, 1B
  7. Kinsler, 2B
  8. Leon, C
  9. Bradley Jr., CF

So, there you have it. We’ll have to wait and see how accurate this really is when Alex Cora makes the roster official in a few days.

Chris Sale Allows Three Runs, Fans Eight in Final Start Before Postseason.

Making his final regular season start in game two of a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night, Chris Sale looked to make any final adjustments needed before heading into his consecutive postseason with the Red Sox.

In what was his 27th start of the season and fourth since returning from the disabled list earlier in the month, the left-hander tossed nearly five innings, surrendered three runs on four hits, one walk, and two HBPs to go along with eight strikeouts on the night.

Coming off a standard four days rest in this one, it was a bit surprising to see Sale struggle the way he did in the first, as he hit two of the first four batters he faced while allowing two Orioles runs to cross the plate.

From that point, the 29-year-old retired nine of the next 11 hitters he faced before running into more trouble in the fifth, where he allowed a leadoff single to Caleb Joseph, recorded the first two outs of the inning, walked Trey Mancini on five pitches, and gave up an RBI single to Adam Jones, which plated the go-ahead run at the time from second base.

Clearly frustrated with himself, that is how Sale’s night would come to a conclusion.

On a more positive note, Wednesday’s performance was the most work the Florida native has gotten in a start since July 27th against the Minnesota Twins.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 92 (58 strikes), Sale threw 34 four-seam fastballs, 29 sliders, 25 changeups, and five two-seam fastballs. He was caught by Christian Vazquez.

chart (6).png

Topping out at 94.5 MPH with that four-seamer in the fifth inning, the former White Sox hurler induced 14 total swinging strikes and got 12 called for strikes.

Picking up the no-decision with his ERA inflating a bit, we can now officially say Sale’s 2018 campaign is in the books. Let’s take a look at some of his numbers from this season:

27 GS, 158 IP, 102 H, 39 R (37 ER), 34 BB, 237 K, 2.11 ERA, 0.86 WHIP

Pretty decent campaign for the southpaw in his second season with Boston. Given the rather low number of innings pitched, it will be interesting to see how that influences the American League Cy Young voting. If not Sale, I would probably give my hypothetical vote Rays ace Blake Snell. Those results will be announced on November 14th.

Outside of the individual accolades, most Red Sox fans are enthralled to see how Chris Sale will perform postseason time, and he’ll get his first crack at that on Friday in game one of the ALDS. Whether it comes against the New York Yankees or Oakland Athletics has yet to be determined.

In his one and only postseason run last year, Sale posted an unsightly 8.38 ERA over two games (one start) and 9.2 innings pitched against the Houston Astros.

But, that was last season. Things could be different now given the fact Sale will make his first start of this year’s ALDS at Fenway Park for a change. We’ll have to wait and see.

RECAP: Astros end #RedSox season with narrow 5-4 win.

Well, that’s it, the season is over. What looked so promising just a few hours ago ended in disappointment. The Red Sox had the lead in this game going into the eighth inning, but they could not hold on.

Once again, the starting pitching was abysmal, with Rick Porcello only lasting three full innings before getting saved by Chris Sale. In that span, Porcello surrendered two runs on five hits, three walks, and a hit batsman to go along with four strikeouts. Allowing nine guys to reach base while only being able to record nine outs is far from spectacular, especially if you take into account that he needed 70 pitches to do so. Like I said though, Chris Sale stepped up like David Price did yesterday. He took things over in the fourth inning and was nails until the eighth. Four innings pitched, two walks, and six strikeouts from the fourth until the seventh. Did they stretch him too far? Maybe, but I didn’t have a problem letting Sale start the eighth. Unfortunately, he was running out of gas, and the Astros took advantage of it. Alex Bregman tied the game by taking Sale deep on a 2-1 changeup and the air was taken out of Fenway Park. Craig Kimbrel would come on with two outs in the inning, and that marked the beginning of the end. A George Springer walk put runners on first and second with two outs and Josh Reddick at the plate. The former Red Sox farm hand drove in the go-ahead run on an RBI single to left, essentially ending his former team’s season.

Carlos Beltran drove in another run in the ninth, which proved to make a difference given what Rafael Devers in the bottom half of the inning. All and all, when we needed him most, Craig Kimbrel basically disappeared. The flamethrower did not make many big pitches tonight, nor did he prove effective in his first meaningful action of this series. It was only one run, but that matters too much in the postseason to go untouched.

On the other side of things, Charlie Morton wasn’t too good either. He was charged with two runs in 4.1 innings he pitched, though he only allowed one run while he was on the mound. That run came early for the Red Sox, as Xander Bogaerts hit his first and only home run of the postseason in the first.

The second run was charged in part because of Justin Verlander. Surprisingly, Astros manager decided to make like the Red Sox and roll with his best starter out of the bullpen. Andrew Benintendi introduced him to the new role by taking him deep to right field for a two-run home run, giving his team a 3-2 lead.

I was really feeling it after this. I was already thinking about Game 5 in Houston on Wednesday when I shouldn’t have been. That was the only hit Verlander allowed and he definitely deserved that W he picked up.

The Astros closer Ken Giles came on after Verlander responsible for the last six outs of the game and ending the Red Sox season. He got them in order in the eighth, but the ninth got very interesting. Rafael Devers led off the inning with an inside the park home run in one of the most surprising plays these eyes have seen.

Unfortunately, the next three batters could not do anything against Giles and Dustin Pedroia ended the season with a ground out.

I forgot to mention it before, but John Farrell was ejected from this game arguing balls and strikes in the second. Also, Brian Butterfield pretty much cost the Red Sox a run in the third by sending Mitch Moreland home when he should not have. If these two things don’t happen who knows how this game goes.

With all that out-of-the-way and the season coming to an end, Dave Dombrowski has a lot to consider this offseason. Does John Farrell remain manager? Do they go after Giancarlo Stanton? JD Martinez? Resign Mitch Moreland? Eduardo Nunez? Only time will tell. Should be a long offseason, wish it could have been a little shorter.

As for me, I’ll have a few blogs coming this week recapping the year and what to expect this offseason. Thanks for a great season, I had a lot of fun doing this.

RECAP: David Price comes through in big spot as #RedSox stave off elimination with 10-3 victory.

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.