RECAP: David Price Hurls Seven-Plus Masterful Innings and Steve Pearce Homers Twice as #RedSox Clinch 2018 World Series Title.

The Boston Red Sox are once again on top of the baseball world following a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday to clinch their fourth World Series title since 2004.

David Price got the start for this series-clinching Game Five on just one day of rest, and he was superb.

Making his third appearance of this 2018 Fall Classic, the left-hander limited the Dodgers to one lone run on three hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over seven-plus quality innings of work.

That one run came right away in the bottom of the first, where before Price could even settle into his outing, David Freese led things off for Los Angeles by ripping a 402 home run on the very first pitch he saw.

Other than that little blip, the Dodgers threatened again in the third when JD Martinez could not locate a fly ball off the bat of Freese that resulted in a one out triple.

From that point, Price buckled down, ended the third without allowing the runner to score from third, and proceeded to retire the next 12 hitters he faced going into the eighth inning.

The Tennessee native would come back on for the eighth, but his superb night would ultimately come to an end after walking Chris Taylor on six pitches.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (58 strikes) in his final start of 2018, Price, who was caught by Christian Vazquez, relied on his four-seam fastball 37% of the time he was on the mound Sunday. He also topped out at 95.3 MPH with his two-seamer in the second inning.

In relief of Price, Joe Kelly came in with a runner on and three outs to get in the eight, and he capped off his terrific October by striking out all three Dodger hitters he faced.

And finally, in a game he was originally slated to start, Chris Sale came on to close this thing out in the ninth, and he did just that by also fanning all three hitters he faced, including a four pitch strikeout of Manny Machado to seal this World Series run in historic fashion.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, whose back was against the wall in this one.

Fresh off collecting four RBI in Game Four of Saturday, Steve Pearce immediately made his presence felt in the first inning on Sunday by blasting a one out, two-run home run to give his team an early two-run advantage.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, and Mookie Betts broke out of an 0-for-13 slump by mashing his first and only homer of this World Series on a 2-2 89 MPH slider from Kershaw. 3-1.

An inning later, JD Martinez also came through with his first big fly of this series that put the Red Sox ahead by three runs.

And in the eighth, Steve Pearce, who would later be named the MVP of this World Series, mashed his second home run of the night to all but guarantee a Game Five and series win for Boston’s team.

Some notes from this World Series-clinching win:

From @MLBStatoftheDay: Steve Pearce joins Babe Ruth and Ted Kluszewski as the only players 35 or older to have a multi-homer World Series game.

The Boston Red Sox have won four World Series titles in the last 15 years.

Alex Cora is the first Puerto Rican manager to win a World Series.

From @SoxNotes: David Price’s last 3 starts:
ALCS Game 5 at HOU – 6.0 IP, 0 R, 3-for-21
WS Game 2 vs. LAD – 6.0 IP, 2 R, 3-for-20
WS Game 5 at LAD – 7.0 IP, 1 R, 3-for-23
Totals: 1.42 ERA, .141 opponent AVG

From @BusterOlney: ELIAS: If the Red Sox win, David Price will have clinched two consecutive series against Cy Young winners – Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw – in the same postseason. That’s never been done before.

What a year, and what a way to cap it off.

The 2018 Boston Red Sox are one of the greatest baseball teams of all time. There is no doubt about that.

World. Series. Champions.

Steve Pearce is your MVP of the series.

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RECAP: #RedSox Bounce Back and Score Nine Unanswered Runs en Route to Game Four Win over Dodgers, Stand One Victory Away from World Series Title.

After losing in demoralizing fashion in Game Three of the World Series on Friday night, the Red Sox bounced back less than 24 hours later with a pivotal, come from behind win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in nine innings on Saturday.

Learning he was going to start in this game hours before first pitch, Eduardo Rodriguez, who had already appeared in this series as a reliever, Eduardo Rodriguez put together a solid performance in this one up until the sixth.

Pitching into the sixth inning, the left-hander surrendered four earned runs on four hits and two walks to go along with six strikeouts on the night.

Retiring 15 of the first 18 hitters he faced, things were looking great for Rodriguez until he plunked David Freese to lead off the bottom half of the sixth.

With his pitch count steadily rising, it seemed as though the Venezuela native’s evening was about to come to a close, but even after giving up a one out double to Justin Turner, intentionally putting Manny Machado on to load the bases, he remained in the game.

The sixth inning could have come to a close with Cody Bellinger grounding into a potential 3-2-3 double play, but instead, Christian Vazquez made a poor throw back to first, and Turner came into score as a result. 1-0 Los Angeles.

Just a few moments after that transpired, with runners on the corners, Rodriguez still remained in the game to face the right-handed Yasiel Puig, who made the most of the opportunity by blasting a 439 foot three-run home run much to Rodriguez’s disdain.

That would put the Dodgers up 4-0 and also put an end to Rodriguez’s night. It will be lost in the numbers, but given the circumstances, the 25-year-old gave the Red Sox what they needed.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 93 (59 strikes), the former international free agent, who was caught by Christian Vazquez, relied on his four-seam fastball 45% of the time on Saturday and topped out at 96.5 MPH with the same pitch in the first inning. If this series were head back to Boston, that is when I would expect to see Rodriguez out of the bullpen again.

I would have more to say about Alex Cora’s decision to stick with Rodriguez in the sixth, but given how things worked out later on, I’ll give him a pass for now.

Anyway, in relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was not stretched thin in this one, as they were only responsible for the final 3.1 innings to close this thing out.

Matt Barnes entered with the bases empty in the sixth, and he worked his way around a two out walk to end the inning with a strikeout of Austin Barnes.

Joe Kelly was next up for the fourth time in the last five days, and he shined while scattering three hits and three strikeouts over two scoreless frames of work to eventually pick up the winning decision.

Finally, Craig Kimbrel came on in the ninth with a fresh five-run lead to work with, and he trimmed that down to two on the way to securing the Game Four victory for his club.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill, who they were seeing for the first time in this series.

A native of Milton, Massachusetts, Hill, like Game Three starter Walker Buehler, had his way with the Boston bats early on.

No one could really couldn’t get anything going up until the seventh inning, when Chris Sale decided to light a fire under their bellies in the visitors dugout.

Coincidence or not, the bats got rolling after that, and it all started with a leadoff walk drawn by Xander Bogaerts.

Four batters and two separate pitching changes later, Mitch Moreland came on for his first at bat of the night pinch-hitting for Matt Barnes.

With Ryan Madson, a pitcher Boston had success against at Fenway Park, on the mound for Los Angeles, Moreland did not waste any time screwing around, and promptly mashed a three-run home run on the first pitch he saw.

4-3 Dodgers on that 437 foot blast from Moreland.

An inning later, another Red Sox first baseman struck for a home run, as Steve Pearce took one deep off of Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen to knot this game up at four runs a piece.

In the ninth, looking for some insurance, Brock Holt ended up being the catalyst of a five-run inning by ripping a one out double off of Dodgers reliever Dylan Floro.

Hitting in Sandy Leon’s spot in the order, Rafael Devers came up to bat next, and as he has done so much this October, delivered with yet another clutch RBI on a single to center field that allowed Holt to score from second and put his team up 5-4.

They would not stop there, though.

Nope, Steve Pearce got another chance with the bases loaded, two outs, and Kenta Maeda on the mound for Los Angeles, and he came through yet again with a bases-clearing three RBI double to all but put this contest out of reach.

In case it was not enough, Xander Bogaerts was responsible for the final RBI of the night on an RBI single that plated Pearce from second and made it a 9-4 game, which is all the Red Sox would need to pick up their first win of the year at Dodger Stadium.

Some notes from this 9-6 victory:

From @SoxNotes: The 2018 Red Sox are the 3rd team ever to hit multiple pinch-hit home runs in a single World Series, joining the 1975 Red Sox and 1959 Dodgers.

From @MLBStatoftheDay: The Red Sox have scored 17 of their 23 runs in this World Series with two outs.

From @MLBStatoftheDay: Steve Pearce is the third Red Sox player ever to homer and drive in four runs in a single World Series game (Yastrzemski, 1967; Ortiz, 2004).

In 10 postseason games this year, Rafael Devers has collected nine RBI.

A quote from Devers about Chris Sale’s in-game speech:

With the opportunity to clinch their fourth World Series title Sunday, it will be David Price, not Chris Sale, getting the start for Boston in Game Five.

Alex Cora made that announcement following his post game press conference.

In two career starts at Dodger Stadium, Price is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA over 12 innings pitched. The Red Sox have won the last three postseason games the left-hander has started in.

Opposite Price will be another left-hander in the form of Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who served up five earned runs on seven hits in four-plus innings pitched in his Game One start back on October 23rd.

Do they end it tonight or does this series head back to Boston? First pitch of Game Five of the 2018 World Series is scheduled for 8:09 PM ET on FOX.

 

RECAP: Max Muncy Walks It off for Dodgers in 18th as #RedSox Drop Longest World Series Game in MLB Hisory.

History was made on Friday night/early Saturday morning when the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers played in the longest postseason and World Series game in MLB history.

It took 18 innings and over seven hours to complete, and the contest was decided by a Max Muncy walk-off solo home run off of Nathan Eovaldi in the bottom half of that 18th inning.

Before the game got to that point though, let’s break down how we got there.

Getting the start for the Red Sox in this one was Rick Porcello, who entered Friday with a 4.22 ERA over 10.1 innings pitched this October.

Pitching into the fifth inning, the right-hander surrendered just one earned run on three hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

It really was a solid performance from Porcello, with the only mistake being made coming in the bottom of the third, when he hung a two out, 0-0 changeup to Joc Pederson, who sent the ball 380 feet to the right field seats to give the Dodgers an early lead.

Other than that, the New Jersey native battled his way into the fifth, and his night ultimately came to an end with two outs in the frame and Pederson due up next for Los Angeles.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 61 (43 strikes) and caught by Christian Vazquez, Porcello topped out at 93.5 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 34 times, en route to picking up the no-decision.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen ended up being responsible for the final 12-plus innings on Friday, which eventually carried over into the wee hours of the morning in California.

Eduardo Rodriguez, Joe Kelly, Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, David Price, Craig Kimbrel, and Heath Hembree combined to toss 6.1 innings of scoreless baseball before Nathan Eovaldi came on for the 12th.

Let me tell you about Nathan Eovaldi. To do what he did on one full day’s rest was absolutely incredible.

After being used as the set up man for the first two games of the World Series, the right-hander came in and essentially put together a quality start out of the bullpen.

Six innings pitched, three hits, two runs (one earned), one walk, and five strikeouts. Certainly not worthy of a loss.

This game should have been over in the 13th, after Eduardo Nunez drove in the then go-ahead run in Boston’s half of the inning.

Having recorded the first two outs of the inning after walking the first batter he faced, Eovaldi was one out away from notching a six out save.

Instead, on what appeared to be a hard hit ground ball to second, Ian Kinsler could not come through with the put out to first.

That allowed Max Muncy to score all the way from second, and just like that, this game was tied again.

Fast forward to the 18th now, after Muncy nearly ended things in the 15th home run with a fly ball that just went foul, and this contest finally came to a conclusion when Muncy redeemed himself to lead off the inning with a walk-off home run.

It only took seven hours and 20 minutes.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was initially matched up against Dodgers rookie right-hander Walker Buehler, and he held them to just two hits over seven shutout innings of work.

It wasn’t until Buehler was out and Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen entered this game in the eighth when Boston finally got on the board.

Trailing by one run and down to their final four ourts, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through in the clutch once again, as he blasted his third home run of the postseason to knot things up at one run a piece.

Fast forward to the 13th, and a Brock Holt leadoff walk, followed by a steal of second base, would set Eduardo Nunez up in an ideal scoring spot.

With lefty Scott Alexander on the mound for Los Angeles, Nunez tapped a ball between the mound and first base, and wound up reaching base on a sliding single thanks to a wild throw from Alexander.

Because of that throw, Holt was able to score from second to give his team a very late one-run lead that ultimately should have been the final nail in the coffin.

But, as I explained earlier, that is not how things worked out, and instead of finding themselves up three games in this series, the Red Sox now find themselves with the Dodgers right behind them with the chance to pull even later tonight.

One note from this 3-2 loss:

The top four hitters in the Red Sox lineup, pinch hitters included, went a combined 0/28 with two walks on Friday. Not the best of efforts from Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts.

I know I missed some things, but here’s to hoping the Red Sox bounce back with a win tonight. Starting pitchers have yet to be announced. First pitch is scheduled for 8:09 PM ET.

RECAP: David Price Fans Five over Six Quality Innings as #RedSox Head to Los Angeles Two Wins Away from World Series Title.

The Boston Red Sox stand just two victories away from their ninth World Series title in franchise history following a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.

It was another chilly evening at Fenway Park, and David Price, who was making his first appearance in a World Series since 2008, picked up right where he left off in Game Five of the ALCS with another stellar performance.

Tossing six complete innings in this one, the left-hander only surrendered two earned runs on three hits and three walks to go along with five punch outs in his fourth start of this postseason.

Both of those runs given up by Price came in the fourth inning after the Tennessee native seemingly breezed through the first three frames.

There, the Dodgers loaded the bases without recording an out to lead things off, and a sacrifice fly from Matt Kemp, followed by a two out single from Yasiel Puig, put Los Angeles ahead 2-1 at the time.

Despite that rough patch, Price rebounded by retiring the seven final hitters he faced to send this game into the middle of the seventh and pick up the eventual winning decision. He got some help along the way from Andrew Benintendi as well.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 88 (58 strikes), the 33-year-old, with Christian Vazquez behind the plate, threw 33 four-seam fastballs, 25 changeups, 23 two-seam fastballs, and seven changeups. He also topped out at 94.6 MPH with that two-seamer in the fourth inning.

With the Red Sox now unbeaten in Price’s last three October starts, I wouldn’t expect to see the southpaw start in another game of this Fall Classic until it comes back to Fenway Park, if that is even necessary.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final three innings of Wednesday night’s contest, and once again, were extremely effective.

Joe Kelly got the first call for his second appearance of this series, and he fanned two of the three batters he faced while hovering around 100 MPH on the radar gun in a scoreless seventh.

Speaking of high velocity, Nathan Eovaldi came on for his second outing in as many days to work the top of the eighth, and he too topped out at 100.3 MPH with his fastball in a 1-2-3 inning.

Finally, in the ninth, Craig Kimbrel looked to lock up his first career World Series save, and he needed just nine pitches to do that and secure a 2-0 lead for his team as they head out west.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another Dodgers left-handed starter in the form of South Korea native Hyun-Jin Ryu, who entered Wednesday with a 4.40 ERA in three postseason starts this October.

With the majority of this lineup outside of the veterans like Ian Kinsler, JD Martinez, and Steve Pearce having never faced Ryu before, it took some time for the bats to get going.

That happened in the bottom of the third, when Kinsler got the scoring for his team started by ripping a two out RBI double to drive in Xander Bogaerts, who had previously doubled, from second. 1-0.

Fast forward to the bottom of the fifth, with Boston trailing by a run, and it ended up being Andrew Benintendi who would chase Ryu from this game by drawing a two out walk to load the bases for Steve Pearce.

Following a pitching change that saw Ryan Madson take over things with runners on for the second consecutive night, Pearce exhibited some patience and drove in what was the tying run at the time by drawing yet another walk. 2-2.

Just a few moments after that, JD Martinez put an exclamation point on this game by promptly unloading the bases and driving in Mookie Betts and Benintendi in from scoring position on a line drive two RBI double to right field.

Since Yasiel Puig was playing so deep in that situation, the ball easily landed in front of him, which allowed both runners to score. Had Puig been playing in more close, who knows how that goes.

Regardless of that, Martinez’s 12th and 13th RBI of this postseason would be all the Red Sox would need to pick up a Game Two win.

Some notes from this 4-2 win: 

The Red Sox are 9-0 this postseason when they score first.

Mookie Betts collected three hits on Wednesday night.

In his last two postseason starts, David Price is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA over 12 innings pitched.

Heading out to California with two games at hand, it will be Rick Porcello getting the starting nod for the Red Sox in Game Three after an off day.

In two prior starts at Dodger Stadium, Porcello is 1-0 with a 5.91 ERA and 1.97 WHIP over 10.2 innings of work.

Opposite Porcello will be Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler, who’ll bring in a career 5.40 postseason ERA into his first ever World Series start.

The Red Sox are winners of five in a row. How many more wins do they need to clinch this World Series?

First pitch of Game Three of the World Series is scheduled for 8:09 PM ET Friday on FOX.

 

RECAP: Eduardo Nunez Comes off Bench and Mashes Three-Run Home Run as #RedSox Take Game One of World Series from Dodgers.

After a five-day layoff that involved celebrating winning the American League pennant, waiting to see who they would play, getting in some light workouts, and fulfilling media obligations, the Red Sox were finally back in action on Tuesday night, as they welcomed the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers into Fenway Park to begin the 2018 World Series.

The last time these two clubs matched up in the Fall Classic, Babe Ruth was on the Red Sox and the Dodgers, who went by the Robins at the time, called Brooklyn, New York home.

That series took place 102 years ago in 1916, when Boston took four out of five games from Brooklyn to claim their fourth World Series title.

Now, both of these organizations truly represent the cream of the crop in baseball, as they make up two of the highest payrolls in the league.

Their paths to get to this point were a little different, with the Red Sox claiming the best record in the American League and the Dodgers having to play a Game 163 in order to claim their sixth straight NL West crown. But still, they got to the position where they would be a few steps away from the ultimate goal, and the journey to that goal began last night.

Getting the start for the Red Sox in this one, his first ever World Series nod, was ace Chris Sale, who hadn’t seen any in-game action since Game One of the ALCS because of a stomach ailment.

Pitching into the fifth inning under the bright lights at Fenway, the left-hander surrendered three earned on five hits and two walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the evening.

Similar to his previous two starts this postseason, Tuesday’s outing was another grind for Sale.

A scoreless first, followed by facing a combined 11 hitters over the next two frames where the Dodgers plated their first two runs on a Matt Kemp solo home run in the second and a Manny Machado RBI single in the third.

The Florida native would rebound by retiring the side in order in the fourth, but his night would ultimately come to an end after walking Brian Dozier on five pitches to lead off the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (54 strikes), Sale, who was caught by Sandy Leon, threw 33 sliders, 30 four-seam fastballs, 16 changeups, and 12 two-seam fastballs in his first career World Series start, which induced 11 total swings and misses.

Out of those 30 four-seamers, the 29-year-old managed to top out at 96.2 MPH with that pitch in the first inning.

Unable to pick up the winning decision because of the rather short outing, I would expect to see Sale back on the mound in a starting capacity on Sunday in Game Five, if the series reaches that point.

In relief of Sale, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final 15 outs of this one, and they were quite effective as a group once again.

Matt Barnes got the first call with the tying run on first and no outs in the fifth, and he allowed that inherited runner to score on an RBI ground out from Manny Machado in an otherwise clean frame that earned him the winning decision.

Joe Kelly was next up for the sixth, and he continued to impress with another scoreless relief appearance, striking out to along the way as well as hitting 100.1 MPH on the radar gun at one point.

Ryan Brasier entered the seventh with a two run lead to protect, got the first out, then proceeded to load the bases for the Dodgers on two singles and a walk with Manny Machado due up next.

Fortunately, he was able to hold Machado to a sacrifice fly, which saw Boston’s lead cut down to one run.

That made way for Eduardo Rodriguez to make his World Series debut with the left-handed Cody Bellinger coming up to bat for Los Angeles, and he got the job done by getting Bellinger to fly out to center to send this game to the middle of the seventh.

Nathan Eovaldi was responsible for the eighth inning after his team had just jumped out to a four run lead, and he got the only three hitters he faced to ground out in a scoreless inning.

Finally, Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel came on in a non-save situation and put together his second straight shutout performance by striking out the final two Dodgers he faced to secure the Game One win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another ace left-hander in the form of three-time National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, who was making his first career start at Fenway Park on the biggest possible stage.

Starting the scoring right away in the first was Mookie Betts, whose leadoff single, followed by a successful steal of second base, would result in Boston’s first run of the night crossing the plate on an Andrew Benintendi RBI single.

On that play, Benintendi was able to advance to second thanks to a poor throw from Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig, and he too would come around to score on a one out RBI single off the bat of JD Martinez. 2-0.

Two innings later, after the Dodgers had bounced back to knot this thing up at two runs a piece, Benintendi and Martinez linked up again, as the DH would drive in the left fielder from first on a one out line drive RBI double off the center field wall. 3-2.

In the fifth, both Betts and Benintendi reached base to lead off the frame, which resulted in Clayton Kershaw departing from this contest having only recorded 12 outs.

So, with runners at first and second and veteran reliever Ryan Madson now into this game for Los Angeles, Steve Pearce came to the plate, took four straight balls, one of which was a wild pitch, and set up a huge spot with the bases loaded for JD Martinez.

Already with a pair of RBI under his belt up to that point, it was honestly shocking to see Martinez fan on three straight hittable pitches from Madson, but Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers salvaged things by driving in a combined two runs on an RBI ground out and an RBI single. That gave the Red Sox a fresh 5-3 lead, but they were not done yet.

Fast forward to the seventh, moments after the Dodgers had made it a one run game in their half of the inning, Eduardo Nunez came to the plate with two outs and the chance to tack on some insurance runs for his club.

Pinch-hitting for Rafael Devers with runners at first and second and left-handed reliever Alex Wood on the mound for Los Angeles, Nunez swung at the second pitch he saw, an 84 MPH knuckle curveball located on the lower half of the strike zone, and ripped it 373 feet into the first row of Monster seats in left field.

Alex Cora may in fact be a genius.

That three-run blast padded Boston’s lead up to four runs, which is all they would need to pick up this pivotal opening World Series victory.

Some notes from this 8-4 win:

From @MLBStatoftheDay: Eduardo Núñez is the first player to have a World Series pinch-hit home runs since Hideki Matsui (Game Three, 2009).

Andrew Benintendi went 4/5 with one RBI Tuesday night, and according to @SoxNotes, Benintendi is the third player in Red Sox history to collect four or more hits in a World Series game.

Looking to go up two games to nothing headed into a cross-country flight to Los Angeles, it will be David Price getting the ball for Boston in Game Two of the World Series.

Making his first appearance in a World Series since his rookie year in 2008, the left-hander is fresh off six scoreless innings and his first winning decision as a starter in the postseason in his last time out against the Houston Astros in Game Five of the ALCS.

In his career against the Dodgers, Price is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings pitched over two starts.

Opposite Price will be another left-hander for Los Angeles with South Korea native Hyun-Jin Ryu getting the nod for Game Two.

In only one career start against Boston back in August of 2013, Ryu surrendered four earned runs over five innings in a losing effort. Not like that means much now, though.

First pitch of the second game of the World Series is scheduled for 8:09 PM ET Wednesday on FOX.

 

RECAP: Andrew Benintendi Makes Game-Saving Catch in Ninth Inning as #RedSox Jump up 3-1 on Astros in ALCS.

In a game that took over four and a half hours to complete, the Red Sox found themselves just one win away from clinching the American League pennant following an enthralling 8-6 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.

Making his second start (fourth appearance) of the postseason in this one was Rick Porcello, and he did not have it going on early.

Tossing four innings seemingly out of necessity, the right-hander got hit hard, as he surrendered a postseason-high four earned runs on seven hits, one walk, and one HBP to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

Right from the get go, it was clear to see Porcello was struggling to find any sort of rhythm. The Astros were making hard contact and getting on base, which could have led to two runs crossing the plate in their half of the first, right after the Red Sox scored a pair of their own, had it not been for Joe West ruling this ball off the bat of Jose Altuve as fan interference.

I don’t want to get into this too much, since like Tuesday’s controversy, it really did not make a difference in the end, but I do believe it’s pretty obvious that Mookie Betts would have made that spectacular catch had that fan not shut his glove closed.

Any who, Porcello got out of the first unscathed. Great, maybe he’ll start to settle in a bit after getting that out of the way, I thought.

Nope, instead Josh Reddick and Carlos Correa greeted the New Jersey native in their half of the second by consecutively reaching base, and that led to Houston’s first run of the night coming around to score on a Correa RBI single.

An inning later, George Springer, who seemingly hits a home run in almost every postseason game he plays in, was at it agin with a leadoff solo shot to right field that cut Boston’s lead to one momentarily.

After a Jose Altuve double to follow that up and two straight outs, Josh Reddick continued his revenge tour against the team he came up with by ripping a line drive RBI single to left to drive in Altuve. Tie game.

In his final frame of work, Porcello failed once again to retire the side in order, as he served up a one out, solo home run to Astros left fielder Tony Kemp, who put his club up by a run with his first homer of the series.

Finishing his night by getting Jose Altuve to pop out to first for the final out of the fourth, Porcello would finish with a final pitch count of 68 (46 strikes).

Out of those 68 pitches, the 29-year-old hurler, who was caught by Christian Vazquez, relied on his slider the most at 31% of the time and topped out at 92.9 MPH with his four-seam fastball in the first inning. He only induced seven total swings and misses as well.

chart (10)

Whether we see Porcello again in this series will probably be indicative on whether or not it goes back to Boston.

If the Red Sox clinch the pennant tonight, then there’s obviously no need for him until the World Series. But, it would not shock me to see Alex Cora turn to Porcello in a late, close game at Fenway either.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for locking down the final five innings of Wednesday night’s contest.

Joe Kelly (1-1) got the first call in the fifth with the game tied at four runs each, but surrendered the then go-ahead run on another Carlos Correa RBI single in the lone inning he appeared in.

Eduardo Rodriguez was next up with left-handed bat Tony Kemp set to leadoff the sixth, and he walked him on seven pitches, the last three of which were all balls. Not ideal.

That made way for Ryan Brasier to clean up that small mess, and he did just that by sitting down the 1-2-3 hitters in the Astros lineup in consecutive fashion.

With his team up 7-5 by the time he took the mound again for the seventh, Brasier would be unable to do his job this time, as he gave up a leadoff single to Marwin Gonzalez and a two out double to the pesky Carlos Correa to put runners at second and third.

Matt Barnes got the next call from Alex Cora in this crucial spot with the pinch-hitting Tyler White at the plate for Houston, and he managed to strikeout White while his bat never left his shoulder. Inning over.

Finally, Craig Kimbrel came on in an extremely rare SIX out save situation with a three-run lead to protect, and somehow, someway he did it.

It was far from easy and certainly very stressful with the Astros cutting their deficit down to two in the eighth and then loading the bases with two outs in the ninth, but Kimbrel was bailed out twice by his stellar outfield.

The first came in eighth, when the aforementioned Tony Kemp tried to stretch a leadoff single into a leadoff double, but his childhood friend, Mookie Betts, had other ideas.

And in the ninth, with two outs and an Astro on every base, Andrew Benintendi made the catch of his life on a screaming line drive off the bat of Alex Bregman that was falling rapidly.

Absolutely unreal. That’s how this ballgame would end only four and a half hours after it started.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Astros veteran right-hander Charlie Morton, who hadn’t seen any in-game action since the end of September.

Like they did off of Gerrit Cole on Tuesday, the top of the lineup got things started right away in the first, as Mookie Betts and JD Martinez drew a pair of walks to put runners on first and second with one out.

A wild pitch with Xander Bogaerts at the plate would allow both runners to advance into scoring position, but Bogaerts was unable to bring them home.

Fortunately, Rafael Devers, who has seemingly turned into an elite hitter in the postseason, came through with a two out, two RBI single to left field that saw his club take an early 2-0 lead.

Over the next four innings, not only was Morton knocked out of this contest, but a pair of Xander Bogaerts RBI base knocks, one in the third and one in the fifth, gave the Red Sox a two-run lead and then pulled them even with Houston at four runs each.

In the sixth, a red-hot Jackie Bradley Jr. came up looking for his first hit of the evening with two outs and Christian Vazquez at second following a double, and he did just that by smoking a 89 MPH changeup from Astros reliever Josh James 385 feet down the right field line.

That put Boston up 6-5, and they would not have to look back on that lead despite some late inning concerns.

To add on what would become much needed insurance, a Brock Holt bases loaded walk in the seventh, followed by a JD Martinez RBI single in the ninth, would eventually be all the Red Sox would need to go up 3-1 in this American League Championship Series.

Some notes from this 8-6 win:

From @SoxNotes: Most multi-RBI games in an ALCS, Red Sox history: David Ortiz – 4 (2004) Jason Varitek – 3 (2004) Jackie Bradley Jr. – 3 (2018)

Most RBI in an ALCS, Red Sox history: David Ortiz – 11 (2004) Manny Ramirez – 10 (2007) Jackie Bradley Jr. – 9 (2018) Mike Lowell – 8 (2007)

Including the Postseason, the Red Sox are 14-0 in 2018 when Jackie Bradley Jr. hits a home run.

The Red Sox are 4-0 on the road this postseason.

With the opportunity to clinch a spot in the World Series with a win tonight, it will be David Price, not Chris Sale, on the mound for Boston.

Pitching on only four days rest, it appeared as though Price was available to come out of the bullpen if needed on Wednesday, but that did not happen.

In his only other appearance of this series, the southpaw nearly earned the winning decision in 4.2 innings of four-run ball in Game Two at Fenway Park last Sunday.

Opposite Price will be Astros ace Justin Verlander, who allowed just two runs to score over six quality innings of work in a Game One win for Houston.

A lot is on the line Thursday, and first pitch of Game Five is scheduled for 8:09 PM ET on TBS.

RECAP: Jackie Bradley Jr. Blasts Grand Slam as #RedSox Take 2-1 Edge over Astros in ALCS.

The Boston Red Sox are two victories away from heading to their 13th World Series following an 8-2 blowout win over the Houston Astros in the first of three games at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night.

Nathan Eovaldi got the start for Boston in this one, his second of the postseason, and he put together yet another solid outing in enemy territory as he did last Monday night in New York.

Pitching six full innings, the right-hander surrendered all but two earned runs on six hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

Despite dealing with a fair amount of traffic on the base paths, Eovaldi managed to hold his own against a team that can capitalize on mistakes in an instant by holding them to those two runs, the first of which came in the first and the second of which came in the fifth.

Ending his outing by retiring three of the final four hitters he faced in Houston’s half of the sixth, Eovaldi’s night came to an end with his pitch count at 92.

Out of those 92 pitches, 60 of which were strikes, the Houston native threw 30 cutters, 27 four-seam fastballs, 14 cutters, 11 splitters, and 10 sliders, which induced 10 total swinging strikes.

 

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He also topped out at 101 MPH with that four-seamer in the first inning and was responsible for eight of the game’s fastest 10 pitches on either side.

For his first ever time in a postseason, Eovaldi has proven that he is very capable of performing at a high level on a bigger stage.

In two starts this October, the 28-year-old is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA over 13 innings pitched with nine strikeouts and only two walks over that span.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen had themselves another memorable night, as they accounted for three scoreless innings to close this thing out.

Ryan Brasier got the first call to start the seventh with a one-run lead to protect, and despite allowing the tying run to reach scoring position on a Jose Altuve bunt single and passed ball, was able to escape the jam by getting Alex Bregman to line out to center field to end the inning.

Matt Barnes was next up for the eighth, moments after his team jumped out to an 8-2 advantage, and he followed up a leadoff walk by recording the first two outs of the frame.

That made way for Joe Kelly, who retired the lone hitter he faced on a Carlos Correa, 6-3 ground out.

Finally, Eduardo Rodriguez was responsible for the ninth in his first appearance of this series, and he closed things out in 1-2-3 fashion to secure an impactful win for his club.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel, and they put up runs before the first out of the contest was even recorded.

Back-to-back singles from Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi in the first set up a coolish JD Martinez in a nice run scoring spot, and the Red Sox’ DH came through with an RBI double to plate Betts and move Benintendi up to third.

Just a few moments after that, Xander Bogaerts doubled his team’s early lead by scoring Benintendi on an RBI ground out. 2-0 game.

Two innings later, with Martinez and Bogaerts on base following two straight walks from Keuchel, Steve Pearce appeared to come up with a crucial two out RBI knock on a sharp fly ball to left field, but Astros left fielder Tony Kemp, who is listed at 5’7”, made an improbable catch to end the third, or did he?

Whether or not you think Kemp caught that ball clean or it hit the wall before it landed in his glove, I’m just glad it ended up not making all that much a difference in the final score.

Fortunately for Pearce, he would have a chance to redeem himself in the sixth, and that he did on a one out, 1-0 88 MPH fastball from Astros reliever Joe Smith.

That ball, Pearce’s first of the postseason, was sent 456 feet down the left field line, which according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, is “the 4th longest Statcast-tracked postseason homer (2015-18), and the longest by a Red Sox.” It also put his team up 3-2, which is a lead they would not have to look back on.

As a matter of fact, that lead inflated some more in the eighth inning, all with closer Roberto Osuna, who entered Tuesday with a career 5.28 ERA when pitching against Boston, on the mound for Houston.

Igniting the rally was Rafael Devers, who didn’t even start this game, with a two out single to move Steve Pearce up to second.

That was followed by consecutive HBPs of Brock Holt and Mitch Moreland, both of whom were pinch-hitting for Ian Kinsler and Christian Vazquez.

The Holt HBP loaded the bases and the Moreland HBP served two purposes. One, it drove in Pearce from third, and two, it reloaded the bases for Jackie Bradley Jr.

Already with a bases-clearing extra base hit under his belt in this series, the scorching Bradley Jr. capitalized on another huge RBI chance by unloading on a 94 MPH fastball that was up and in and pulled it to right for the game-sealing grand slam.

David Ortiz’s reaction:

Some notes from this 8-2 win:

From @SoxNotes: Steve Pearce has recorded at least 1 hit and scored at least 1 run in each of his 6 starts in the 2018 postseason. The only other Red Sox player ever to do that in 6 consecutive starts in a single postseason is Mike Lowell (2007).

From @PeteAbe: Red Sox have outscored teams 28-6 on the road in three postseason games.

From @Sean_McAdam: Bradley was 1-for-17 with seven strikeouts with the bases loaded during season. Last two ABs: 3-run double Sunday; grand slam tonight.

Looking to go up 3-1 in this series tomorrow night, it will be Rick Porcello getting the starting nod for the Red Sox.

Coming in with a 1.35 ERA over 6.2 innings pitched this October, Porcello has done a little bit of everything at an effective level. Starting, coming in as reliever, it really doesn’t seem to matter for the right-hander.

Opposite Porcello will be veteran right-hander Charlie Morton for the Astros.

Morton, 34, did not pitch for his club in their three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS, and his last regular season start came on September 30th, so it will be interesting to see if there is some rust there.

First pitch of the fourth game of the ALCS is scheduled for 8:39 PM ET Wednesday on TBS.