BOSTON — The Red Sox earned a reprieve with their victory Sunday afternoon, giving Rick Porcello a chance at redemption today.
The 2016 Cy Young Award winner, who has had a dreadful followup season, will be Boston’s Game 4 starter assuming that the game is played. The weather forecast is a bit iffy, and when the Sox left the clubhouse Sunday they did not know when game time would be.
It depended upon what happened in Sunday night's Yankees-Indians game.
“Go out and do his job,” is manager John Farrell’s expectation for Porcello. “He threw a good inning down in Houston; go out and locate. I would anticipate we have a number of guys available [Monday]. Price unlikely, and I would say that Chris Sale would be available as well. So we’ll find a way to get through it again.”
This will be Porcello’s fourth playoff start, second for Boston. Overall he has made 10 post-season appearances and has compiled an 0-3 record with a 5.40 earned run average.
Pole setter for JBJ
Jackie Bradley’s first playoff home run was a memorable one, and not just because it helped Boston win a post-season game.
His three-run homer in the seventh expanded the Red Sox’ lead to 10-3. The ball bounced off right fielder Josh Reddick’s glove and into the stands as Reddick tried to make a leaping play at the fence past the foul pole.
“At worst,” Bradley said, “I was gonna get a sacrifice fly. It’s always beneficial when something more positive happens.”
The right-field corner in Fenway lends itself to great catches and strange plays, and Bradley’s home run was similar to one hit down that way on Aug. 31, 2006, by Alex Cora against the Blue Jays. Cora’s ball actually was several feet away from the fence when it hit Alex Rios’ glove and went into the box seats.
“I’ve never seen anything like it in person,” Bradley said. “I’ve seen it in other places, I’ve seen other people. I’ve seen somebody catching it, deflecting it and it going into the stands.”
They don't give up
The Red Sox have not given up easily in recent years, 2016 being a glaring exception. Boston has fought hard to avoid elimination in many playoff series starting with the 1986 ALCS when it was down, 3 games to 1 to the Angels and came back to win.
The Sox had the epic 2004 ALCS comeback versus the Yankees when they were down 3 games to 0, then bounced back from a 3-1 deficit against the Indians to win the 2007 ALCS.
Boston has twice come back to win best-of-five series after losing the first two games. It happened in 1999 versus the Indians and in 2003 against the Athletics. Both times Boston lost the first two games on the road, then won a pair at Fenway and Game 5 on the road.
The 1999 series would be most closely related to this one if Boston came back to win it. The Red Sox were clobbered in the first two games by combined scores of 14-3 in Cleveland, then won in succession by 9-3, 23-7 and 12-8.
Milestone for Pedroia
Dustin Pedroia played his 50th postseason game in a Red Sox uniform. He is the third Boston player to get into that many playoff games. David Ortiz holds the record with 76; Boston was 45-31 (.592) in those games. Jason Varitek played in 63 playoff games, 58 of them starts. The Sox were 35-23 (.604) in those games.
All of Pedroia’s post-season appearances have been as a starter and Boston is (29-21, .580) in those games.
Sellout, but small crowd
Attendance was 38,010, a sellout, although the smallest playoff crowd at Fenway since Oct. 25, 2007, when the Sox drew 36,370 for Game 2 of the World Series. Capacity has increased since then, and some seats were lost in center field Sunday because it was a day game.
Win goes to Kelly, not Price
Joe Kelly got the win and is 23-9 in a Red Sox uniform including the regular season. While David Price was Boston’s best pitcher, the official scoring rules dictate that if the starting pitcher does not go five innings and leaves the game with his team trailing, which describes Doug Fister on Sunday, the reliever who was in the game when his team took the lead for good gets the win.
That was Kelly.
Mookie Betts extended his playoff hitting streak to five games with a single in the seventh. He is 6 for 19 (.316) during the streak. It is the longest post-season streak by a Boston batter since Ortiz hit in five straight in the first five games of the 2013 World Series. ... Rico Petrocelli, a stalwart on the 1967 and ’75 pennant winners, threw out the first pitch and it was a strike. ... The added security measures included lookouts at various points along the roof.