RED SOX HALFWAY TO A WORLD SE­RIES TI­TLE

With Price in top form again, Bos­ton puts Dodgers in a 2-0 hole, writes

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - Rob Lon­g­ley. rlon­g­[email protected]­media.com

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.”

GAME ON

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.

EARLY BIRDS

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.

MAN­AGE­MENT 101

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.”

ROAD TRIP

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.”

MAD­DIE MEYER/GETTY IM­AGES

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.

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