The Yankees tied up the American League Division Series with a 6-2 win at Fenway Park on Saturday night. The series now shifts for the next two games to New York.
Price: Shortest Postgame Start for Sox vs Yanks
Boston starter David Price lasted just 1.2 innings, allowing solo home runs from Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez. It was the only start in 299 (including both regular and postseason games) that Price failed to record a single strikeout.
Price’s outing was the shortest for a Boston starter in a postseason start since Doug Fister‘s 1.1 IP against the Astos in last year’s ALDS Game 3 and the shortest postseason outing ever for a Boston starter against New York.
Gary Sánchez is now 7-for-14 (.500) lifetime against Price, with six of his seven hits leaving the park.
Price’s postseason woes have become near-legendary. He’s now 0-9 with a 6.03 ERA over his postseason career, the third highest ever among pitchers with 10 or more postseason starts, trailing only Jaret Wright (7.77) and Tim Wakefield (6.45).
And while Price was clearly not right last night, he left the game with the score 0-3 with more than seven innings to go.
Joe Kelly, looking sharper than he has for a bit, put out the fire Price started, giving the Sox 2.1 solid innings of work in all. After a solo home run from Xander Bogaerts, Ryan Brasier entered the game in the fifth inning and likewise looked more like his old self with three strikeouts over his relief inning.
Brandon Workman, on for the sixth, got a strikeout but then allowed back-to-back singles to the No. 8 and No. 9 Yankee batters. Manager Alex Cora dipped back into the pen for Eduardo Rodríguez, who settled things down with a pop out and strikeout.
Sox Offense Sputters
Price “needs to pitch better, and he knows it,” Cora said in an off-day interview, but at the same time, “I look up, it’s the sixth inning, and it’s 3-1…we were in the spot to win the game.”
But the Sox offense was on hiatus, going 1-2-3 in the second, fifth and sixth innings. Boston’s only other run in the game came in the seventh when Ian Kinsler doubled to drive in a Mitch Moreland.
Games are won on a combination of pitching, offense, and defense. But for the Sox on Saturday, already hampered by substandard pitching and offense, even the normally solid defense was problematic.
Judge, having already punished the Sox with a homer in the first, led off the seventh with an infield single after Rodríguez inexplicably failed to cover first on what looked to be a routine play. The miscue was costly when Judge became one of three to cross the plate on Sánchez’ second home run of the game.
At the time, Sox fans on Twitter wondered about whether an injury caused Rodríguez’ defensive blunder but on Sunday, the manager made his feelings plain. “I just talked to him and told him just be accountable, that’s it,” Cora told the press. “I guess he told you guys he slipped or something like that,” but Cora said that wasn’t the whole story. “I’m like, man, if you don’t break right away, just be accountable, that’s all we ask. And he’s like, ‘Yeah, my fault. I just didn’t break.'”
Sánchez’ 479-foot home run off Rodríguez was the second longest in the postseason since Major League Baseball’s Statcast started tracking in 2015.
Eovaldi For Game 3
With the series now tied at one game apiece, Manager Cora has selected Nathan Eovaldi for his starter in Game 3 on Monday. Eovaldi is 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA in 4 career starts vs New York. New York will counter with Luis Severino.
Eovaldi says he has confidence facing the Yankees, particularly given his recent success against them. “I’m trying to do the same thing that I have been doing, stay aggressive and try to get that first pitch strike out of the way,” Eovaldi said.
Cora had originally pencilled Rick Porcello for the Game 3 start but pushed him back to Game 4 after calling on Porcello for an inning of relief in the series opener. “Rick pitched that inning on Monday, so we felt like one more day is going to benefit him if we stay away from him. Nate hasn’t pitched in a while. He’s rested, had a good week, and we’re going with him,” Cora said on Sunday.
In 14 previous postseason series where they were tied 1-1, the Red Sox went on to win eight and lose six.
2018 is the 13th appearance for Boston in a Division Series but only the second time they’ve been tied at 1-1.