This is it. The Boston Red Sox were a team left for dead. Down 2-0 in the series to the Houston Astros, backs against the wall with Doug Fister on the mound, Boston found themselves down 3-0 in the first inning after a Carlos Correa two-run homer.
Then, something magical happened at Fenway. John Farrell took out the veteran Fister for Joe Kelly who stopped the bleeding tossing 1.2 innings of shutout ball. Hanley Ramirez after being called out recently by Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez told the boys to jump on his back and got the party started. Rookie Rafael Devers put Boston in front 4-3 with a two-run homer and the Boston squad didn’t look back from there.
Now with the lead in the 4th inning, the Red Sox turned to their horse David Price available exclusively out of the bullpen this postseason and boy did he deliver. Price was money commanding the zone and shutting down the Astros power-heavy right-handed lineup in route to four scoreless frames striking out four. Price went above and beyond the 40-pitch limit expected and tossed 57 during his historic performance. Price was the first Red Sox pitcher to deliver four shutout innings out of the bullpen since Pedro did it in 1999.
Getting ready to hand it off to Addison Reed and Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox offense showed their appreciation for the power-lefty knocking across six runs in the bottom of the 7th. After loading up the bases, Hanley delivered with a two-run double and Jackie Bradley Jr. broke out of his postseason skid launching a three-run jack. Addison Reed and Carson Smith would each throw a clean inning out of the pen to close out the Red Sox 10-3 win forcing a Game 4 on Columbus Day in Boston.
Now, here we are. Game 4 with a one-game winner-take-all matchup just 9 innings away. Can’t look ahead, can only look directly at the target and the goal in front. Win today. The defending Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello wasn’t selected to be one of Boston’s first three starters by manager John Farrell, and he now has the chance to prove him wrong and vindicate the Porcello advocates such as myself. This game is all about redemption. For David Price on Sunday, even after all he’s been through in his two years in Boston, it was redemption after that performance. That is what’s hanging in the balance for Porcello.
Forget about opposing stater Charlie Morton, a good two-seam ground-ball inducing right-handed pitcher in his own right, this is all about Porcello. Can he execute the pitches we’ve all seen him execute, eliminate the mistakes and lead his team to a win. He did it 22 times last season, he can do it all again today. This is his chance, the bats have awoken after the outburst yesterday, he just needs to win every pitch and the Red Sox will be playing baseball on Wednesday night in Houston.
Destiny awaits Rick Porcello on Columbus Day in the historic city of Boston. Would you really have it any other way?
Follow Frank Pimentel on Twitter: @FrankBostonTank