The Boston Red Sox were able to keep Game 1 close until the 9th inning, can the bats light up to even out the series at a game a piece?
It’s no secret that the Boston Red Sox have elite hitters. They have two of the top MVP candidates in 2018. Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez are those two guys. Betts has a very good chance after getting robbed in 2016. Martinez has put up his best statistical season while Betts had arguably his best season as well. Betts led the league in hitting, Martinez led with runs knocked in and finished second in both hitting to Betts and in home runs by five.
Just how important are the bats going into Game 2? Very important. The Sox need to win this game badly. If the Sox cannot manage to salvage this series by splitting the first two games, they face a tough three game stay in Houston where a return to Boston could be doubtful. Houston has the benefit of superb pitching. There are no glaring weaknesses either for the starting rotation and the relievers. The one area where Boston has the edge is in the closer with Craig Kimbrel.
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Even at closer, the Sox are shaky after almost blowing his final game against the Yankees. Boston needs to come out guns blazing in Game 2. This is the definition of a must win in baseball. Many view this ALCS as the real World Series matchup. In the National League, the Brewers are really good and the Dodgers are good in comparison. In the American League however, both the Red Sox and the Astros are great. The offensive numbers that Boston put up are no fluke, they will do damage.
Even with the bats needing to come through in Game 2, the real wild card in this game is non other than David Price. Price needs to shake off the fear and rust and put in work. Anything over 5 innings of work in any fans opinion would be classified as a win. If Price can go 5 strong innings allowing no more than two earned runs, that gives the Sox a chance to salvage the first two games of this series by getting a win to split before heading to Texas for the next three.
ALCS Games 3 – 7
Should Alex Cora bring in another starter to finish up Game 2? There’s only two guys I would consider to do that. Nathan Eovaldi or Rick Porcello, each pitching very well respectively in their last start. If you can get 2+ innings out of one of those guys before a reliever and then eventually bringing in Kimbrel, that could do it. Granted, with that being said, the starter to start Game 3 would be whoever didn’t come to relieve Price.
Starting Chris Sale in Game 4 wouldn’t be completely out of the question. The lack of faith in the starting rotation and relievers for Boston could lead Boston to doing what Arizona did in 2001. The Diamondbacks elected to have Curt Schilling start games 1, 4, and 7. Randy Johnson pitched games 2 and 6 and ended up closing out the 7th and final game. If the Sox elect to go Sale for games 4 and 7, that leaves trying to find a start for games 3, 5, and 6. Price would almost guarantee the 5th or 6th game if he pitches well tonight.
Of course, we won’t be talking about games 6 and 7 if they can’t get out of Houston. The undeniable most important step for Boston right now is getting a win tonight. Then at least manage to get one win in Houston. If the boys from Bean Town can bring the series back to Boston, anything is possible. No baseball fan wants to see their team go down three games to none but Sox fans are different, after all we had 2004. Red Sox fans don’t want to live that all over again, but if any team can do it, it’s this one.