Well folks, we knew a Red Sox/Yankee series wasn’t going to be easy, but this weekend was like riding a sketchy roller coaster ready to collapse at your local fair. The Sox and city of Boston white knuckled their way to a split in Fenway that included every Sox fan’s worst nightmare. The bullpen and David Price got rocked Saturday and I, for one, am still sick to my stomach from it (and the blackout that resulted from the loss).
Last night was another rough start for David Price in the Postseason. pic.twitter.com/fVJXqM5UUC
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 7, 2018
It was a puke-worthy affair and I don’t blame anyone for having zero confidence going into New York. However, I will not be one of them.
This weekend may have stung, but nothing that happened should have shocked a logical fan. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but every team has their deficiencies and the teams that win it all find ways to overcome them.
So step one to salvaging this series, and hopefully a run to the World Series, is the lineup. They’re good enough to make it hard to look at them and say there’s a problem. There really isn’t one there, but as they have done all season, if the Sox want to overcome the bullpen they may simply need to out-hit everyone. It’s not the prettiest or easiest way to win, but it is how they’ve done it all year.
Step two is starting pitching. Plain and simple, the starters need to shorten the game. They will never escape this series, or any other one, if they need the bullpen to go for six innings of work. Most teams can’t no matter who they have to throw out there.
Eovaldi may not be an exciting name to see taking the bump in game 3, but I’ll be dammed if I’ll allow people to say he doesn’t have a chance in New York of picking up this game.
Going into the postseason, David Price had a 10+ ERA against the Yankees this season…
… Nathan Eovaldi's ERA against them is 1.93
— Gabrielle 🌻 (@gfstarr1) October 8, 2018
It’s easier said than done, but it can be done. I don’t care how many home runs your team hits or how big those hitters are. If you can attack them inside with a high-90’s fastball, you will give anyone trouble. Eovaldi has a good chance of getting through this lineup three times if he can spot that inside fastball.
Then in game 4, there is Porcello. Everyone knows he’s the anti-model of consistency, but he is no stranger to the Yankees. Porcello has a 3.11 career ERA against New York in 22 starts. That’s a hell of a sample size with a promising ERA. With that being said, he has not been great in New York. The prayer is he looks like the 1-hit shutout Slick Rick. The goal is to win game 3 and not have the season hinging on that prayer.
The final step to winning this season is taking minimal damage when the bullpen is out there. Everything I’ve talked about so far are ways to limit relying on the bullpen, but in the end of the day, at some point they will have to. Move number one will infuriate many.
Prepare yourselves to see David Price again really soon, Red Sox fans.
Boston "likely" will use Price as a reliever in the ALDS.https://t.co/laVy55GumQ pic.twitter.com/ynIi4Kt0mF
— NESN (@NESN) October 8, 2018
This may make you less confident than ever and it’s nearly impossible for me to talk you off that cliff. I myself don’t feel great about this, but the answer isn’t just to shut Price down. He’s on the roster and arms are limited. The only success Price has ever had in the playoffs is in that role last season.
I’m not naive. These next two games will not be fun. Even if the Sox are winning you will never feel comfortable. That’s playoff baseball though. The best thing to do is buckle up and remind yourself this Red Sox team has proven all season they have something special. They are more than capable of moving on in the playoffs and hopefully they will do so here in the next couple of days.
The best advice I can leave you with is keep the Xanax close. Win or lose, you’re going to need it.
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Feature Image via Getty Images