BOSTON (CBS) — With a chance to punch their ticket to the World Series on Thursday night, the Boston Red Sox will be handing the ball to David Price.
Manager Alex Cora announced after Wednesday night’s win in Game 4 that Price would be the choice to fill in for Chris Sale, who feels too weak to pitch after spending Sunday night in the hospital for treatment of a stomach illness.
That plan was not cemented until the conclusion of Game 4, during which Price warmed up for an extended period late in the game. Price told reporters after the win that the plan was for him to enter to pitch the ninth if the Red Sox extended their lead. But a diving catch by Josh Reddick ended a Boston threat, leading to Cora keeping closer Craig Kimbrel in the game for a six-out save.
Price pitched decently but not great in his start in Game 2 on Sunday night. He lasted 4.2 innings, allowing four runs on five hits and four walks. The numbers weren’t great, but they could have been better had Xander Bogaerts been quicker to first after fielding a grounder off the bat of Carlos Correa in the first inning. (Correa ended up scoring one of two runs that inning, neither of which would have scored had the out been made.)
It was also a better outing than many expected from Price. The left lasted 3.1 innings in his first Red Sox postseason start in 2016, and he lasted just 1.2 innings in his lone ALDS start against the Yankees.
Price will be pitching Thursday on just three days rest. He’s done that once before in his career as a starter, allowing one run in 5.1 innings, but that was all the way back in his rookie season in 2008.
Price will be opposed by Justin Verlander, who allowed two runs in six innings in Game 1.
If the Red Sox can’t win Game 5 in Houston, Chris Sale is slated to pitch Saturday in Game 6 in Boston.