By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
Final, 9-6 Rd Sox: Machado grounded out to third, with Devers going into a slide, stumbling a bit, then firing a dart across the infield to beat the runner. Bellinger then flew out to left. It’s over.
Sox lead 3-1 in the World Series.
Bottom 9th, 1 out, 9-6 Red Sox: Kimbrel got Muncy to ground out but then surrendered a one-out single to Turner.
Machado is at the plate.
Price is warm in the bullpen.
Bottom 9th, 0 out, 9-6 Red Sox: Not so fast. Not so fast at all.
Kimbrel walked Dozier on four pitches as he and Swihart weren’t remotely on the same page. Hernandez then crushed a 1-1 curveball into left field for a two-run homer.
Still a cushion for Boston. But if Kimbrel continues to struggle, Cora should make a move to Brasier.
Middle 9th 9-4 Red Sox: Even more runs for Boston. Xander Bogaerts battled for seven pitches, eventually sending a liner past a diving Machado into left field. Pearce scored from second and it’s now 9-4.
Kimbrel is on for the ninth, even though it’s a five-run lead.
Top 9th, 2 outs, 8-4 Red Sox: Steve. Pearce. Has. Delivered.
Line drive double to the right-center field gap. Bases are empty. Sox are going to win*.
Top 9th, 2 outs, 5-4 Red Sox: The Red Sox have a chance to blow this game wide open. Dave Roberts is going to a third pitcher this inning.
After the Devers single, Swihart grounded out to second, advancing Devers to second. Betts was intentionally walked. Alex Wood came in to replace Floro, and Benintendi sent a cue shot down the third base line and beat the throw from Turner.
Now with the bases loaded, Roberts is going with Kenta Maeda to face Steve Pearce. A hit here and Red Sox fans can breathe. If Maeda can get an out, we’ll all be witnessing a high-stress bottom of the ninth.
Top 9th, 1 out, 5-4 Red Sox: The Boston Red Sox have a lead — their first of the game.
Devers sat on a 2-0 pitch and sent it right back up through the middle. Holt scored easily, and the Sox are up. They have a chance to tack on, but regardless, the game will be in Craig Kimbrel’s hands in a matter of minutes.
Top 9th, 1 out, 4-4: Brock Holt just hit a double down the third base line. Rafael Devers is in the game as a pinch hitter.
End 8th, 4-4: A high-stress inning for Joseph Kelly. But he gets out of it. That man is on fire right now.
Machado led off the eighth with a single. Kelly then got Bellinger to strike out swinging.
Puig then grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Bogaerts making a nifty sliding stop and flip to second, and Holt nearly getting Puig at first for a double play. Puig, though, beat it out.
Taylor then ripped a single past a diving Nunez, and Puig pushed the envelope by taking third base. Benintendi had a long way to run to get to the slow roller, and he opted to throw to second so as not to give the trailing runner a free base.
So with runners on the corners and two outs, Yasmani Grandal entered as a pinch hitter for Barned. Kelly struck him out, letting out a roar on his way off the mound. Kelly’s been exceptional this postseason.
Kimbrel was warm for the Red Sox last inning. Looks like the plan is to use Kimbrel in the ninth and then Price in extras (in the Eovaldi role, if you will) if it gets there.
Boston bats will try to make that a non-issue. Nunez, Holt and Leon are up against Floro.
Middle 8th, 4-4: Tie baseball game.
Solo jack to right-center field.
Tie baseball game.
I understand that term may send some Red Sox fans into shock after last night. But this game is tied.
Jansen otherwise buzzed right through the meat of the Boston order. Benintendi grounded out to first, Martinez struck out swinging, and Bogaerts flew out to right. But, well, Pearce did what he did.
End 7th, 4-3 Dodgers: Joe Kelly allowed a two-out line-drive single to Muncy, but retired Turner on a shallow fly to center to end the inning.
The inning began with Pederson watching a curveball drop in on the outside edge for strike three, before Hernandez made decent contact on a liner to right-center that was snared by Betts.
Benintendi, Pearce and Martinez are due up for Boston in the eighth. Roberts is bringing in his closer, Kenley Jansen, to get through the toughest part of Boston’s order.
Middle 7th, 4-3 Dodgers: Oh!
Don’t go to bed just yet!
Alexander walked Holt on four pitches. Then Alexander was taken out. Bad outing by Alexander.
So Dave Roberts called upon … Ryan Madson. The same Ryan Madson who struggled mightily in Games 1 and 2. Madson got Jackie Bradley (pinch hitting for Vazquez) to pop out to shallow right (great play by Hernandez to sprint out there and make an over-the-shoulder catch).
Then Mitch Moreland stepped in as a pinch hitter for the pitcher. He demolished — demolished — a first-pitch middle-middle changeup, crushing it to right field so badly that Puig didn’t even bother turning around or moving an inch. That thing was gone.
And when that one came down, the 4-0 lead had been chopped to 4-3.
Mookie Betts smoked a line drive back to the pitcher after that, but Madson knocked it down and threw on to first base for the final out of the inning.
But, well, we’ve got a baseball game on our hands, folks.
Top 7th, 1 out, 4-0 Dodgers: Rich Hill’s night is done, after he walks Bogaerts then strikes out Nunez. He gave the Dodgers more than they could have asked for tonight, as he’s left the Boston bats completely baffled.
The lefty Scott Alexander is entering to face Holt
End 6th, 4-0 Dodgers: Matt Barnes walked his first batter (Taylor), but then struck out Barnes to end the inning.
Obviously a fairly significant turning point of the game right there. Lots of blame to go around, too. A very bad throw by Vazquez (albeit a difficult throw, considering he had to leap to catch the feed from Pearce) cost the Sox an inning-ending double play. Cora’s hesitance to pull the starter hurt instantly with the Turner double. And Rodriguez threw a terrible pitch to give up the bomb to Puig.
The Red Sox’ entire postseason has been about resilience, and response. They’re going to need to mount their biggest rally yet if they want to avoid letting the Dodgers even up this series.
Hill was going to come out if his spot came up (he was on deck), but it didn’t. So he’s still in the game.
Bottom 6th, 2 outs, 4-0 Dodgers: Well, this one is blown wide open now.
Cora stuck with Rodriguez after the wild throw by Vazquez, despite the right-hander in Puig coming to bat with runners on the corners. It proved to be a bad call.
Rodriguez, who’s been struggling with his command this inning, threw three straight balls to fall behind in the count 3-1. Rodriguez threw a get-me-over fastball. It got over. Then it got out.
Puig was sitting dead red on that fastball, which was perfectly spotted middle-middle for him. Rodriguez chucked his glove down on the mound as the ball sailed high and deep over the wall in left.
Dodgers now lead 4-0, and it’s starting to look like a 2-2 series is imminent.
Bottom 6th, 2 outs, 1-0 Dodgers: The Red Sox got what they needed. Christian Vazquez threw it away.
With the bases loaded and one out, Cody Bellinger chopped one right to Pearce. He fired home for the force out there, and then Vazquez threw up the first base line. It got past Pearce, past Holt, and all the way to right field.
Dodgers lead 1-0.
Rodriguez got into trouble when he pitched to Turner with a runner on and one out. It looked like Cora wanted to go to the bullpen, where Matt Barnes was warming, but for whatever reason, Cora stuck with Rodriguez after initially hesitating.
The inning started with Rodriguez hitting Freese, then catching Muncy looking at strike three, before the Turner double. Machado was intentionally walked, leading to the bases-loaded, one-out situation for Bellinger.
Top 6th, 0-0: The Red Sox can’t buy a hit. Benintendi tapped out to the pitcher, Pearce sent a lazy fly to left, and Martinez softly lined out to short.
While having just one hit through six innings is bad enough for the Red Sox, what’s worse is that they’ve only forced Hill to throw 82 pitches. With the pitcher’s spot in the lineup not due for nine spots, Roberts can definitely keep Hill in for at least one more inning.
Meanwhile, Cora is going to try to squeeze every last bit out of Rodriguez, who’s back out there to start the sixth.
End 5th, 0-0: Another 1-2-3 inning for Rodriguez, who’s now retired six straight batters after the leadoff single in the fourth.
Taylor struck out looking, Barnes grounded out to third, and after inexplicably running all the way to first base on a bunt to the backstop, Hill grounded out to third base as well.
Eighty pitches for Rodriguez. We’ll see if Cora keeps him in to face Freese, Muncy and Turner in the sixth, or whether it’s time to dip into the bullpen. Considering the toll on the bullpen last night, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him stick with E-Rod as long as possible. But then again, Joe Kelly was warming last inning.
Middle 5th, 0-0: For the second time tonight, Christian Vazquez almost put the Sox on the board. Almost.
This time, though, his fly ball didn’t come up short. It curled just foul around the left field pole. Vazquez did, however, return to the batter’s box to line a soft single over shortstop.
That came with one out, following a Holt rollout to second. Rodriguez tried to bunt Vazquez over to second, but that man does not know how to handle a baseball bat. He struck out looking at a curveball.
Betts then put a charge into a first pitch from Hill, but Belliner nonchalantly made the catch at the base of the track to end the inning.
Betts is now 0-for-3, coming off his 0-for-7 last night.
End 4th, 0-0: Rodriguez allowed a leadoff single to Turner, but deftly pitched around it. He got Machado to strike out swinging on the eighth pitch of his at-bat, then got Bellinger to strike out swinging as well. Puig then popped out to second on the first pitch of his at-bat to end the inning.
It’s all about the pitchers thus far.
Rodriguez: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 67 pitches
Hill: 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BBs, 1 HBP, 5 K, 57 pitches
Middle 4th, 0-0: Rich Hill looks largely untouchable. Martinez struck out swinging, again at a fastball, Bogaerts grounded out, and Nunez struck out three pitches.
The Red Sox don’t yet have a hit, only reaching base with a pair of walks and a hit by pitch. They’ve struck out five times. They’ve only made Hill throw 57 pitches through four innings.
End 3rd, 0-0: Rodriguez has his first 1-2-3 inning of the night. Hill popped up a bunt, Freese flew out to right, and Muncy flew out to left.
Quiet so far. Martinez, Bogaerts, and Nunez are coming up for Boston, looking to change that.
Middle 3rd, 0-0: The Red Sox received a gift when Hill led off the inning by hitting Rodriguez in the right forearm with a fastball. But they gave that gift right back.
Betts hit a weak dribbler to third (Betts is so deep in his struggles right now, by the way), but it looked good enough to at least advance the runner into scoring position. However, Rodriguez decided to walk to second base. Turner fielded the dribbler and saw he had a play at second, and he made it. With ease.
Benintendi then popped out to Machado behind third, and Pearce hit a weak flyout to left to end the inning.
We saw last night how important it is to capitalize on every scoring opportunity, so walking to second base on a Sunday stroll is not advisable.
End 2nd, 0-0: Lots of symmetry in this game. Just like the top of the second, the bottom of the second began with an out made on the first pitch. And just like in the top half, the bottom half saw a runner reach base with two outs.
This one was a two-out single into left by Chris Taylor, but Austin Barnes struck out looking to end the inning.
Rodriguez is at 37 pitches through two. Hill is at 32. The pitcher’s spot is due to lead off the inning for both teams in the third.
Middle 2nd, 0-0: Oh my. For a moment, it looked like the Red Sox were about to match their run-scoring total from last night with just one swing of the bat. Alas, Christian Vazquez’s deep fly ball to left field ran out of steam, dying at the track and falling into Chris Taylor’s glove for the final out of the second. Warning track power on that one.
Holt had reached with another two-out walk, after Bogaerts popped out on the first pitch of the inning and Nunez struck out swinging at a fastball that split the plate in half.
Red Sox hitters aren’t squaring anything up (save for Vazquez), despite Hill living over the plate. That fastball-curveball mix has them off balance thus far.
End 1st, 0-0: Same as Hill, Rodriguez issued only a two-out walk in his opening frame. Rodriguez, though, only struck out one batter (Freese).
Machado, who owns terrible career numbers against Rodriguez, flew out to Martinez in right with a runner on base (Turner) to end the inning.
Middle 1st, 0-0: The inning started quietly, with Betts striking out on a curveball, and Benintendi hitting a curveball off the end of his bat for a lazy fly to left.
Pearce worked a two-out walk, though, getting Martinez to the plate. But Martinez struck out swinging at a fastball.
Striking out the two MVPs of the American League is a pretty good way to bookend the first inning if you’re Rich Hill.
Here’s the upcoming Dodgers lineup.
1. David Freese, 1B
2. Max Muncy, 2B
3. Justin Turner, 3B
4. Manny Machado, SS
5. Cody Bellinger, CF
6. Yasiel Puig, RF
7. Chris Taylor, LF
8. Austin Barnes, C
9. Rich Hill, LHP
Top 1st: Rich Hill’s first pitch to Mookie Betts is a ball away.
Game 4 is underway. Feels like we were just here, doesn’t it?
6 p.m. ET: Alex Cora said that Chris Sale is absolutely not available to pitch out of the bullpen tonight, which means he’ll be the Game 5 starter no matter what. That is if we’re to take the manager at his word. It’s hard to tell these days.
5 p.m. ET: We now have a lineup, and Jackie Bradley Jr. — the man who tied the game with a solo homer and sent that thing to extras a night ago — will start this game on the bench. Andrew Benintendi is back in the starting lineup, after he got just one plate appearance in Game 3.
J.D. Martinez remains in the starting lineup, this time in right field. Eduardo Nunez, despite suffering 57 injuries in Game 3, is in there to start over Rafael Devers against the (now-confirmed) left-handed starter in Rich Hill.
1. Mookie Betts Betts CF
2. Andrew Benintendi LF
3. Steve Pearce 1B
4. J.D. Martinez RF
5. Xander Bogaerts SS
6. Eduardo Nunez 3B
7. Brock Holt 2B
8. Christian Vazquez C
9. Eduardo Rodriguez LHP
We also have this little nugget: Though E-Rod was ultimately Cora’s choice, he did have options.
Clearly after everything Eovaldi gave the Red Sox on Friday night, his fellow pitchers are eager to try to maintain that bar.
3:53 p.m. ET: Ladies and gentlemen, we know the starting pitcher.
Eduardo Rodriguez, after pitching to just one batter in Game 3, will make the start for Boston in Game 4.
Rodriguez got Joc Pederson to strike out swinging to end the bottom of the fifth on Friday night. Rodriguez was the first man out of the bullpen on a night when Cora had a fairly quick hook for Rick Porcello. But because Porcello had surrendered the solo homer to Pederson earlier in the game, the manager didn’t want to mess around.
Rodriguez threw just six pitches in the outing.
Rodriguez likewise had a very short outing in Game 1, when he retired the only batter he faced by getting Cody Bellinger to pop out to shallow center to end a Dodgers threat in the seventh inning.
The left-hander hasn’t gotten much action this postseason, throwing 4.1 innings in six outings, getting tagged for three runs in the Red Sox’ Game 2 ALDS loss to the Yankees.
In the 2018 season, Rodriguez went 13-5 with a 3.82 ERA. Here’s a look at the Dodgers who have experience facing Rodriguez:
Manny Machado: 6-for-33 (.182), 2 2B, 4 BB, 6 K, .513 OPS
Brian Dozier: 4-for-11 (.444), 2 HR, 2 BB, 3 K, 1.657 OPS
David Freese: 1-for-2, 2 BB
Nobody else has more than three plate appearances against Rodriguez.
2:45 p.m. ET: Oh my goodness. They’re going to go ahead and play another one? So soon? Really?
Well I suppose that is how things work around this time of year. No matter how long the previous night went, you’re going to have to head to the ballpark shortly thereafter and play another high-stakes game on a grand stage.
It’s the best.
Of course, from a Red Sox perspective, they have to be feeling loads of regret and angst regarding the events of last night. From a combined 0-for-23 night from the top four batters in the starting lineup (Betts, Bogaerts, Moreland, Martinez), to Eduardo Nunez needlessly jumping into the stands to give up a free base, to Ian Kinsler’s bad base running and worse defense, Game 3 was one that the Red Sox probably feel they should have stolen. But they did not.
And that puts a lot of pressure on Boston to win tonight. If the Red Sox can take the field tonight and play their game, impose themselves upon the Dodgers, and secure a victory, then they remain in complete control of this World Series.
If they let another one slip away? Well, this series will be going a lot longer than we thought it would just a few days ago.
What the Red Sox absolutely need is more production out of Mookie Betts. With an 0-for-7 night and with five runners left on base, he’s now hitting .222 with a paltry .608 OPS this postseason. That’s quite a significant dropoff from his .346 regular-season average and his 1.078 OPS, both of which contributed to his likely MVP season. Overall his postseason career batting average is .238 with a .647 OPS. And with a night as glaringly bad as Game 3, people are starting to take note. He can erase a lot of that with an MVP type performance in Game 4. He can also, of course, fan the flames with another bad night.
As for who will pitch and what the lineups will be, we don’t know yet. Both managers dumped their resources last night, so there was likely some overnight evaluation and some early-morning strategizing taking place on both sides. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will address the media in L.A. at 4:45 p.m. ET, and Cora will be speaking at 5:45 p.m. ET.
When the news breaks this afternoon, we’ll have it covered right here in the live blog, along with updates and analysis from the first pitch to the final out. Hopefully it’s a little quicker than Game 3.