Boston Red Sox veterans step up in must-win Game 3 vs. Astros

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: David Price
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: David Price /

Boston Red Sox veterans Hanley Ramirez and David Price step up in a must-win game to continue team’s season.

In a series where veteran leadership was lacking just as much as power, consistency, and quality pitching, the Boston Red Sox manage to come through and cut the Houston Astros series lead in half with a dominant 10-run home win.

On the mound was Boston’s only starter in the series with any playoff starting experience at all. However it’s been a while for the 33-year old right-handed veteran. Prior to game 3, Doug Fister’s last playoff appearance as a starter was on October 6th, 2014 when Fister pitched for the Washington Nationals in the NLDS.

Unfortunately he would not be Boston’s answer for the Astros as Fister only lasted 1.1 innings, allowing 3 earned off 4 hits including a 2-run home run in the 1st by Carlos Correa.

That’s Houston’s 7th home run of the series and a 1st-inning trend that has haunted Boston starting pitching all series long. In fact though the first 3 games of the series, each starter has failed to pitch a clean 1st inning, posting a 2.33 1st-inning ERA in this series thus far.

Fister isn’t alone in Boston’s starting pitching struggles at all. He along with Chris Sale.

David Price

However it seemed as though the series momentum shifted Boston’s way when John Farrell called upon lefty, David Price to pitch in the 4th inning with Boston holding on to a 1-run lead.

HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 06: David Price
HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 06: David Price /

David Price would silence all critics who have scorned him for his postseason history. He went on shutout the Houston Astros lineup through 4.0 innings, appearing to be a completely different pitcher out of the bullpen than we he starts on the mound.

Statistically he is.

David Price as a starter (Postseason):

  • 8 starts, 0 wins, 8 losses, 5.74 ERA

David Price as a reliever (Postseason):

  • 8 appearances, 15.1 innings pitched, 2.35 ERA

That’s now 15.1 consecutive innings that Price has pitched out of the bullpen for Boston this season and he is yet to allow a single run with his ERA continuing to stand at 0.00 as a reliever.

A  role that Price has excelled in for Boston greatly to say the least.

Price became the first Red Sox pitcher to go 4-plus scoreless innings of relief in the postseason since Pedro Martinez (6.0 scoreless innings) did so against the Cleveland Indians in 1999.

Hanley Ramirez

While Price took care of Houston on the mound, it was third year first baseman/designated hitter,. Hanley Ramirez who stepped up for Boston at the plate. Ramirez who was benched to open up this series in Houston back in Game 1.

Related Story: Pedro Martinez spot on in calling out Hanley Ramirez

In game 3 Ramirez went 4/4 with 3 RBIs which included a 2-run home run. Ramirez became Boston’s first player to do so since team legend, David Ortiz did so back in 2004.

This phenomenal, clutch, and historic performance came after Ramirez vouched to cut off his iconic dreadlocks if the Red Sox to defeat the Astros in the series and advance to American League Championship Series.

Ramirez also came out of the dugout during lineup introductions, waving a green flag which read “Believe In Boston”, an optimistic message for the Fenway faithful which hadn’t seen a postseason win in 4 years.

After the game Ramirez stated that he “just tried to wake everybody up”. Something Ramirez certainly managed to do in Game 3 and will look to continue as Boston hopes to even up the series at home.

Game 4

Rick Porcello now takes on the task of keeping the Red Sox season alive for Boston. Porcello is baseball’s leader in home runs allowed this year with 38 and will be facing an Astros lineup which hit the 2nd most home runs during the regular season with 236.

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When facing the Astros in his career Rick Porcello is 1-1 in 3 games with a 5.49 ERA. In 2017 the Astros hit .400 against Porcello (25/28) with 2 home runs. This will be Porcello’s biggest and more crucial appearance in a Boston Red Sox uniform yet and it’ll be at Fenway, a park which was very friendly to Porcello last season to say the least.

Rick Porcello 2016 at Fenway Park:

  • 13-1, 2.97 ERA, 16 Games, .241 opponents batting average, 8 home runs

Rick Porcello 2017 at Fenway Park:

These numbers have drastically changed within the span of just a season. Porcello was nearly unbeatable when at home and has since become the home of 20 home runs allowed this season, making this a very interesting start.

Next: An open letter to the Boston Red Sox from a fan

The Boston Red Sox have come back from this situation before, twice in fact. Most recently against the Oakland Athletics in 2003 after being down 2-0 to begin the series.

Is a 7-run home win just what this team needed to fire up the 93-win division champs? We’ll see on Monday at 1:08 pm.