David Price put his postseason woes behind him, pitching the Red Sox past the defending champion Houston Astros 4-1 Thursday night in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series. And in Game 1, my fears were justified as the bullpen almost blew a 5-0 lead.
The Red Sox pulled off the upset for a variety of reasons, including some surprise contributions from unexpected players.
Game 1 of the World Series is Tuesday night at Fenway Park against the Los Angeles Dodgers or Milwaukee Brewers. If there was one thing the Sox had to prove these playoffs, it was that the group of relievers - who were not improved upon in the regular season with a traditional setup man - could handle the pressure and the quality of hitters they faced without giving up too many free passes. After Boston finished off the Astros in Game 5 on Thursday, the team tweeted out a video of Eovaldi laughing and spraying Champagne around the clubhouse with the caption, "lil post series video work". In the postseason he had posted a career 3.17 ERA in 11 1/3 innings pitched with 10 strikeouts.
Our panel of "experts" overwhelmingly picked the Astros in either a five or six game series. The Red Sox were last in the World Series when they won it all in 2013.
Martinez was batting with one out in a scoreless game and had an 0-2 count. It's his teammates' fault for not backing him up - at all - at the plate. And before that, Martinez was a part of the Astros organization before they released him in March 2014.More news: Mexico vows to meet migrant 'challenge' as caravan hits border
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In his last appearance, Price went four-and-two-thirds innings. After Raphael Devers hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning, a young boy who caught the ball appeared on camera looking confused. Altuve's potential two-run homer was wiped out. "So it's just something that kind of stuck with me". It's safe to say, he was feeling it.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora noticed that, saying he's been tipping his pitches for a couple weeks, and he got a little help from an unlikely former member of the Boston Red Sox.
While Verlander was on the mound in Game 5, Houston scored no runs. But in those last three losses, he went 2 for 12, reached base just four times and drove in just one run. Also: "I'm going to need security to escort me out of here if the Astros don't come back to win this". Specifically, Cole's disastrous start in Game 2 provided a major setback for the Astros.
Going on short rest, Price dazzled in Game 5, using a mid-90s fastball, slick changeup and hard slider to baffle the Astros' vaunted lineup from the first pitch.
It was a ideal 43rd birthday present for rookie manager Alex Cora, who became the first skipper from Puerto Rico to take a team to the World Series.
Try it, you'll like it.