Home > Game Recaps, MLB > Red Sox ALDS Game 2 recap: Myth status: busted

Red Sox ALDS Game 2 recap: Myth status: busted

Highest WPA: Jacoby Ellsbury, .173 (3-4, 2B, SB, RBI, 3 R)
Lowest WPA: Jonny Gomes, -.047 (1-4, R, 3 LOB)

Even I had started buying into the idea that the Rays had two guaranteed wins in this series thanks to David Price. In his career, Price has held current members of the Red Sox to .216/.276/.368; compared to his career .232/.292/.357, it’s safe to say Boston is as pedestrian against the Rays ace as is anyone else. Price has looked even better since coming off the DL, so there’s some logic to throwing out his May 15 start against the Sox (his last before that injury).

And yet… the playoffs are weird. We often forget that in small samples, improbable things happen against all logic and expectation. Price got beaten up for 6 extra-base hits tonight while inexplicably staying in the game for seven innings. In Joe Maddon’s defense, one of those extra bases was a complete fluke, and Price did shut down the Sox for the 6th and 7th, but by the time Ortiz delivered the knockout homer to open the eighth, I don’t think anyone was remotely surprised. The ace just wasn’t sharp tonight, and his defense didn’t exactly pick him up.

While I shrugged off the disadvantage of the AL wild card team’s schedule, I do wonder how much the Rays are just worn out after their late-season must-win games, then the tiebreaker, and then the play-in game; while it hasn’t crippled their rotation, maybe some of the fielding missteps could be chalked up to fatigue.

That’s not to say this series is a done deal; Clay Buchholz is as capable as anyone else of just having a bad start. After him, it would be Jake Peavy, who has disappointed me (and my unreasonably high expectations) since coming to Boston. And after that, Jon Lester could finally be the unremarkable pitcher I declared him to be during the first half. But unless things go terribly wrong, the Red Sox are likely to wrap this series up under that ugly, catwalk-marred abomination of a dome. They can’t always pad leads through opponents’ poor defense, but if they can hand Matt Moore and David Price legitimately bad outings, I think it’s safe to say this offense is as capable of beating good pitching as any lineup is.

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