Boston Red Sox fans were uneasy after a home loss at the hands of their arch rival on Saturday night. Their $31 million ace David Price, let the headlines and noise surrounding his postseason woes grow even larger and Boston was now faced with the daunting task of taking a game on the road to force the series back to Fenway for a Game 5.
Needing a spark, Boston skipper Alex Cora opted for a few lineup changes and altered his starting rotation. First, Nathan Eovaldi would be moved up to start Game 3. Cora was forced to use his initial Game 3 starter Rick Porcello as the set-up man on Friday night and with Eovaldi’s numbers against New York during the regular season, the decision became a little easier to shuffle the rotation and flip-flop the starting pitchers.
Back to the Boston starter later, but Cora also opted to make three significant changes to his lineup. Facing a right-handed starter in Luis Severino, Cora went with Rafael Devers to man third base, Brock Holt to play second and Christian Vazquez behind the dish.
Vazquez would get the Boston offense going with an infield single that scored Devers who reached with a base hit in the 2nd inning. Devers would later pick up an RBI to make it 3-0 before Boston chased Severino for Lance Lynn with the bases loaded. After a four-pitch walk to Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi broke the game open with a bases clearing double making it 7-0 in the 4th inning.
Brock Holt increased the lead to 10-1 that same inning with a two-run triple and added his third hit of the night later in the ballgame to go with some fantastic defense played. Then, in the 9th inning facing catcher Andrew Romine, Brock Holt completed the cycle with a home run to make it a 16-1 game. History in the ALDS. Don’t see how he stays on the bench for any remaining games this postseason.
The Boston bats were relentless all night long never backing down and beating Yankees pitchers into submission. To his credit, Eovaldi pitched all night like he was nursing a slim lead going 7 innings, throwing strikes and getting outs. The cutter was moving and his fastball was popping the gun in triple digits. Eovaldi surrendered just five hits and one run while striking out five and not walking a single New York batter.
Boston cruised to a 16-1 victory in Game 3 and take a 2-1 series lead into Tuesday nights game with former Cy Young Award Winner Porcello squaring off with veteran CC Sabathia. Porcello is 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA in four starts against New York this season.
Red Sox fans will not soon forget the performance turned in by their starter on a misty Monday night in October and the onslaught by their offense. Yankee fans were scattering to the exits in waves with hopes of getting some rest before a must-win Game 4. The legend of Nathan Eovaldi will only continue to grow if Porcello and the boys can close the Evil Empire out on Tuesday night and turn their focus to Houston.
27 more outs and it’s on to the ALCS. Let’s give them a proper funeral in their own home.
Follow Frank Pimentel on Twitter: @FrankBostonTank