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Game 2 win shows Red Sox bullpen isn't so bad after all

Rob Bradford
October 14, 2018 - 10:58 pm

This was supposed to be David Price's night. The game we either shoveled another pile of dirt on his postseason record or offer a double-take after a winning performance. 

But Game 2 of the American League Championship Series offered neither.

Price was just good enough. The Red Sox' bullpen leading up to Craig Kimbrel was better than that. Three-and-a-third innings. One hit. And that was the defining storyline in the Red Sox' 7-5 win over the Astros. (For a complete recap, click here.)

After the starter's 4 2/3-inning, four-run outing the Sox' fortunes were put in the hands of the only faction of this roster under as much scrutiny as Price, the bullpen. And, as has been the case consistently throughout these playoffs, the Red Sox' relievers came through.

First, it was Matt Barnes who entered with two runners on and two outs in the fifth inning, replacing Price who found himself one out short of his first postseason win. The result was an inning-ending strikeout thanks to four straight curveballs to Marwin Gonzalez (who had hit a two-run homer off Price earlier in the game.)

Then, following Barnes retiring all four of his batters, on came Ryan Brasier. That outing consisted of one uneventful seventh inning. After that, it was the eighth inning guy so many thought the Red Sox might not have. A few days ago that was Chris Sale. This time, for the second game this postseason, Rick Porcello was the man.

Porcello appeared in complete control in pitching a perfect eighth, paving the way for Craig Kimbrel with the Red Sox' carrying their three-run lead. Kimbrel was shaky once again, allowing an RBI double to Jose Altuve. But that's a (potentially uncomfortable) story for another day.

The Red Sox have seemingly sorted this bullpen thing out (finally). Brasier hasn't allowed a run in his 4 1/3 innings. Barnes' postseason scoreless streak is now at 4 2/3 innings. And Porcello has faced six. batters in relief, giving up just one hit.

It's a group of relievers who haven't allowed an inherited runner to score since Game 1 against the Yankees.

There is a long way to go and there will be a lot more opportunities to hold your breath when it comes to this group. But so far, it's been good enough. And that's something few thought was possible.