BOSTON (CBS) — After taking a 3-1 lead in the World Series, Red Sox manager Alex Cora is mixing up the plan.
Instead of going with Chris Sale to start Game 5, the Red Sox will hand the ball to David Price on Sunday night, with a chance to win a championship.
This marks the second straight series in which Sale was pushed back from Game 5 until Game 6. Price filled in during the ALCS and pitched brilliantly, making that Game 6 unnecessary as the Red Sox finished off the Astros in five games.
Manager Alex Cora insisted that the decision was not based on anything medically wrong with Sale.
“We feel that, you know, we talked about it before the game, and this is a good spot for David in a National League park to start the game. Obviously he’s been throwing the ball well. It’s not that we’re playing with the lead, but we feel that for the team, where we’re at pitching-wise, it’s good to go with David,” Cora said. “We talked about it the whole day. I talked about it with Chris and David, and that’s what we’re going to do.
“Chris is OK. Actually, he’ll be back there [in the bullpen in Game 5], and if necessary in Game 6, he’s the starter.”
Price won Game 2 of this World Series, and he pitched in relief during Game 4. He warmed up in the bullpen during Saturday’s Game 4, similar to when he warmed up extensively during Game 4 of the ALCS.
Sale has dealt with shoulder soreness since July, and he suffered a somewhat mysterious stomach illness that required hospitalization during the ALCS. He made his start in Game 1 of the World Series, but lasted just four innings while allowing three earned runs. In total this postseason, Sale has a 4.40 ERA.
Price, meanwhile, is 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA this postseason. Over his last three outings (two starts), though, he’s 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA.