There’s been so much news to talk about that I’ve not had the chance to talk much about the Red Sox vs the Yankees, but with the Yankees disposed of and the formidable World Champion Houston Astros next in line the #1 topic of conversation in Red Sox nation has been manager Alex’s Cora’s decision to start David Price in Game Two at Boston.
Here is why it I think is the right move regardless of how game one goes (I’m writing this Saturday 2 PM nor knowing the game 1 result.)
- Cora needs to know if Price’s issues are Yankee issues or everything issues, the time to find that out is early in the series rather than with the series on the line. Game 2 provides that opportunity. If he fails then he can adjust rotation accordingly.
- The upside is huge. With expectations game so low for David Price that even if he just manages 5 innings and less than four runs it will be a triumph and even a small success like that might be enough to get the monkey off his back and if that happens the Red Sox prospects in both this series and the World Series improve dramatically.
- The down side is very small, if Price falters Cora can, as he did vs the Yankees, go to Joe Kelly who managed to shed a few demons of his own in an excellent outing that kept the Red Sox in that game. Even if Kelly comes in as early as the 3rd Cora would be ahead of where he was last week against the Yanks. Furthermore that Sox have amply demonstrated time and time again this year that no lead against them is safe.
There is also the downside of NOT pitching Price
- Not pitching Price means that instead of Nathan Eovaldi (ERA 3.33) matching up against Morton (3.13) and Rick Porcello (ERA 4.28) Matching against either Keuchel (3.74) or McCullers (3.86) in games 3 and 4. matchups where Houston might have a slight edge at best, Eovaldi gets to match up against Cole with an ERA under 3 (2.88) and Porcello gets to face Morton with an ERA a full run better than his.
- Not pitching Price means you have basically a wasted roster spot where you have a pitcher to be used either in case of injury or in case of a complete collapse and in either case you are forced to use a pitcher who you have publicly indicated you have no faith in.
- Not pitching price puts additional pressure on Sale’s weak arm and the bullpen that is already going to have it’s work cut out for them to hold down that strong Houston lineup.
- David Price has four more years on a deal worth $30-32 million a year that you won’t be able to unload. Cora showing confidence in him now will pay dividends over those next four seasons where those 15 regular season wins Price can deliver might be the difference between winning a division and home field advantage or playing in a wild card game without it.
Starting Price in game 2 vs Houston is both the right thing and the smart thing to do and I think Cora, who wasn’t my 1st or 2nd choice for manager have proven that he deserves to have his judgement trusted.