Porcello's two key outs in ALDS set tone for entire postseason, Cora says

Nick Friar
March 06, 2019 - 11:18 am

FORT MYERS—The Red Sox had several pivotal moments throughout the 2018 postseason, especially from their pitchers. Joe Kelly re-emerged as a bullpen weapon when it seemed Boston had next to no options entering the playoffs. David Price turned the corner and made a case as the World Series MVP. Nathan Eovaldi's heroic relief appearance turned start in defeat nonetheless gave the Red Sox a huge lift against the Dodgers.

But there's one appearance that can be easily overlooked—probably because it only lasted three batters.

In Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees, Rick Porcello made his first appearance, coming on in relief in the dreaded eighth inning that had plagued Boston all season. The righty threw all of 15 pitches, getting two outs before surrendering a single to Gleyber Torres. It was enough to get the ball to Craig Kimbrel, who went on to record the four-out save, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 series advantage.

Alex Cora not only viewed Porcello's appearance as a major moment, he thinks Porcello set the tone for the playoff run.

"He's great for this team, not only on the field but off the field," Cora said. "He's one of the leaders in the clubhouse. What he did last year was amazing. We go back to the first game against the Yankees, I think it's probably the loudest I heard Fenway last year, when he came in and he got those two outs. That was cool to see, and I think he actually set the tempo for the whole month of October."

Porcello went on to win his start against the Yankees three games later and posted a 3.52 ERA by the end of the postseason.

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