As encouraging as it was to see the offense get going, the hero of this game came out of Boston’s bullpen.
Fister became the latest starter to put the Red Sox into a hole in this series. The right-hander failed to make it out of the second inning, leaving the rest up to the bullpen. Boston’s relievers were up to the challenge, keeping Houston scoreless over the final 7 2/3 innings.
The star of that bullpen effort was David Price, who tossed four shutout innings. He allowed four hits, a walk and struck out four.
Price’s four innings of relief are the most by a Red Sox pitcher in the postseason since Pedro Martinez delivered six shutout innings out of the bullpen in the 1999 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians.
The much-maligned track record of Price in the postseason has been the ire of Red Sox fans since the ink dried on his $217 million contract. While critics will continue to harp on the fact that Price hasn’t won a postseason game as a starter, he’s quieting the noise by thriving in his current role in the bullpen. Price has tossed 6 2/3 innings of relief in this series, serving as Boston’s version of Andrew Miller, a shutdown weapon out of the bullpen that has become essential to win in the postseason in this era.
Boston ended up cruising to a win after the lineup exploded in the bottom of the seventh inning but it was still a one-run game throughout the four innings that Price worked. Those were high-stress innings with the game on the line and Price proved up for the challenge.
The Red Sox got plenty of help from their offense and defense but they don’t win this game without Price shutting down the Astros for four innings.