RED SOX HALFWAY TO A WORLD SERIES TITLE
With Price in top form again, Boston puts Dodgers in a 2-0 hole, writes
BOSTON As recently as a week ago, it seemed as though David Price would never win a postseason baseball game, a drag on an otherwise brilliant career as a starter.
Now it looks like the Boston Red Sox pitcher may never lose.
Clutch when he needed to be in the cold Boston night, on Wednesday Price went six innings in Game 2 of the 114th World Series, giving up just three hits as the Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2.
One start and six days after eliminating the Houston Astros last week, Price retired the final seven Dodgers he faced as the Red Sox took a 2-0 stranglehold lead in the best-of-seven series that now shifts to L.A. for the next two and a fifth game only if necessary.
Price had plenty in the clutch company, as the Red Sox continued to deliver with two out, scoring three in the fifth with that count to re-take the lead 4-2. Of the 68 runs the Sox have scored this post season, 36 have come with two out.
The fair-weather Dodgers, meanwhile, are clearly bothered by everything about Fenway Park, most notably the weather. By the seventh-inning stretch the wind chill was 2 C, foreign territory for the Californians. The forecast for Game 3 in Los Angeles is 28 C.
Other than the occasional cool summer night when they face the Giants in San Francisco, the Dodgers are blanketed in warmth, a reality not lost on Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts.
“It’s an adjustment and that’s part of the home-field advantage and especially being in the bullpen,” Roberts said. “It’s more of a challenge.”
It certainly didn’t appear to be much of a challenge for Price, who has battled the cold at times.
For the second consecutive outing, Price held the opponent to just three hits. And what an incredible turnaround after his first 11 post-season starts didn’t yield a win, while the next two clinched the AL pennant and Game 2 of the World Series.
The Dodgers finished with just the three hits all night, all of them singles in the two-run fourth inning as the final 17 Los Angeles batters were retired.
Roberts certainly had an inkling of what his team would be facing.
“I really can’t speak to the winloss in the post-season for David (Price),” Roberts said before the game.
“All I know is what he’s done recently, and he’s pitched well and he’s got a lot of confidence. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
They did on Wednesday and they certainly will have the same back in Los Angeles with the very real possibility that the series doesn’t even return to New England. The Red Sox are now 14-2 in the franchise’s past 16 World Series games and twice since 2004 Boston has won the Fall Classic via a sweep.
MAD ABOUT MADSON
The cold was especially an issue for Los Angeles reliever Ryan Madson, who complained about the temperatures after being ineffective on Tuesday and then coughed up some more runs in Game 2.
After inheriting two runners from starter Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 and letting them all get around, he inherited a basesloaded jam from Wednesday starter Hyun-Jin Ryu. Madson allowed all three of those to score as well in a Red Sox fifth inning that turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead.
“It’s definitely an element, yeah,” Madson said about the cold weather before Wednesday’s game. “I’m going to make a couple of adjustments and move around a little more, move your knee joints.”
More evidence of the cold’s effect came in the bottom of the seventh when Red Sox centrefielder Mookie Betts hit a towering fly ball to left that normally would have been over the Green Monster but instead bounced off the wall for a double … Apparently the cold weather also has a shrinking effect on the strike zone as interpreted by home plate ump Kerwin Danley. After a two-run Dodgers first, Price paid Danley a visit before heading to the dugout … There was some heat in the stadium, however, and it came from Red Sox righthander Nathan Eovaldi, who brought plenty of it in some impressive eighth-inning relief. As the temperatures plunged, Eovaldi had a sizzling fastball that topped out at 102 m.p.h. … Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
The Red Sox have taken the “score first and you win” philosophy to heart.
“We’ve been trying to do that all post-season,” Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi said ahead of Game 2. “It puts pressure on them right away and hopefully, we can keep doing it.”
They did just that in Game 2 when an Xander Bogaerts’ double in the second inning Wednesday night was followed by an RBI single from Ian Kinsler for the first run of the game.
One of the great stories of these playoffs has been the work of Red Sox manager Alex Cora and the confidence his players have in him.
Cora trusts in his staff and his players and isn’t afraid to make bold moves when he sees fit, the pinch-hit homer from Eduardo Nunez that put Game 1 out of reach being the latest example.
“He’s got a method to his madness,” Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt said. “And I think we have success in those situations because of him letting us know beforehand what the situation might be, where we’re gong to be used.
“Yes, we have a lot of good players, but he knows what he’s doing.”
Even with the off day it’s not the most travel-friendly World Series. In fact, it’s the longest distance possible, some 4,200 kilometres between Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium. With that in mind, both teams have decided to fly Thursday morning.
“I think it’s better for the players to get to their rest tonight, sleep at home and hop on a plane,” Cora said. “It’s tough travelling to go to L.A. But we’re not complaining: We’re in the World Series.”
Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi celebrate after each scored a run on a hit by teammate J.D. Martinez during the decisive fifth inning as the Boston Red Sox topped the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 in Game 2 of the World Series at Fenway Park in Boston on Wednesday.