David Price stars as Boston Red Sox take 2-0 World Series lead
Pitcher Price steps up again to leave Dodgers in desperate need of a win in California
Boston Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi takes a catch to take a hit away from LA Dodgers batter Brian Dozier. Photograph: John Cetrino/EPA
It was only a few weeks ago that David Price was persona non grata in Boston. He was seen, not entirely unfairly, as a highly paid starter doomed to falter time after time in the playoffs. Now, as the winning pitcher in the the Red Sox’s 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of the World Series, he’s positioned himself to be a genuine Boston legend. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are heading back to California down 0-2 in the best-of-seven series and in desperate need of a home victory to avoid falling into deep trouble.
Price pitched six strong innings against a potent Dodgers line-up, allowing just two runs on three hits, while striking out five and walking three. It was Price’s second straight postseason win, following his victory over the Houston Astros in the clinching Game 5 of the American League Championship Series. Price has had an up-and-down career in Boston, his struggles against the New York Yankees have been beyond well-documented, but there’s no question that he has stepped up in the two biggest games of his Red Sox career.
It looked like this was going to be a pitchers’ duel for most of the game’s first half. The Red Sox scored first when Ian Kinsler hit a single off of Hyun-jin Ryu to drive in Xander Bogaerts. As with so many of the runs the Red Sox have scored this postseason, it came with two outs. That was, however, the only run they managed to score off of Ryu for the first four innings.
Meanwhile, Price ran into a jam in the fourth. Matt Kemp tied the game with a sacrifice fly that drove in David Freese. Then, Yusiel Puig untied it for the Dodgers by driving in Manny Machado to make it 2-1 Los Angeles. For a moment the “Beat LA” chants died down at Fenway Park and it looked like the old David Price was making a return at the least opportune moment. He didn’t. Instead, Price settled down and got out Justin Turner and Freese to end the inning. The Dodgers wouldn’t score again.
Price was asked after the game, what had changed to make him more effective in the postseason. His answer was simple. “I have,” he said. “I take a lot of pride in being able to evolve from pitch to pitch or day to day or game to game. Being able to make adjustments on the fly, it’s paid off.”
The game turned in the fifth inning when Ryu was pulled with two outs and the bases loaded, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts put in reliever Ryan Madson. Madson promptly walked Steve Pearce to force in a run and then allowed yet another two-out hit, this one to JD Martinez. The Red Sox were now up 4-2, putting Ryu on the hook with a hard luck loss. Price threw a scoreless sixth and Red Sox manager Alex Cora turned to his bullpen to close out the game. Joe Kelly, Nathan Eovaldi and Craig Kimbrel (in the middle of his own redemption story) shut the door on LA with scoreless innings of their own.
Expect Roberts to receive his share of criticism for the moves he’s made in these first two games, especially when compared to those made by Cora, who has turned “In Cora We Trust” into something of a catchphrase in New England. Roberts now has the unenviable task of trying to prevent his team from going down 0-3 in the World Series. The 2004 Red Sox, who were honored at Fenway before the game started, did come back from that deficit against the Yankees in that year’s ALCS. Not that Roberts needs a reminder: he was part of that Red Sox team and one imagines that he doesn’t want to attempt that once-in-a-lifetime feat again.