The Associated PressBOSTON (AP) — Red Sox manager Alex Cora is sticking with David Price, saying Wednesday the left-hander will start Game 2 of the AL Championship Series against Houston despite an unprecedented history of playoff struggles.
Speaking on MLB Network radio a day after the Red Sox eliminated the Yankees from the AL Division Series, Cora said he plans to use Chris Sale in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series that begins at Fenway Park on Saturday night. The first-year manager said Price, the loser in the Red Sox only defeat in the ALDS, is still in line to start Game 2.
“We trust him,” Cora said last week after Price allowed three runs and got just five outs in a 6-2 loss in Game 2. “He bounced back before. We’ll talk to him and make a few adjustments and we’ll go from there.”
Nathan Eovaldi and 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello are expected to start Games 3 and 4, after picking up wins in the same roles against the Yankees. The current Red Sox staff entered the series with a 0-19 postseason record as starters, and now everyone but Price has picked up a win. Price has won two games in relief.
In all, Price is 0-9 as a starter in the postseason and his team has lost all 10 of his career playoff starts, the longest such skid in postseason history. The latest was a five-out cameo in Game 2 against the Yankees in which he gave up homers to Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez.
But Cora expressed confidence in Price afterward, claiming that Astros ace Justin Verlander and Red Sox Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez also struggled in the playoffs early in their careers. He also noted that Price pitched well out of the bullpen last year, making two appearances with 6 2/3 innings of scoreless relief against Houston.
Verlander had a 5.57 ERA through his first eight playoff starts, but he won three of them; Martinez struggled in the 2003 and early in the 2004 postseason but had already posted a win in his playoff debut in 1998 and threw 18 shutout innings over three appearances in 1999.
Price said after his start he will pitch in any role that helps the team.
“I just want to win. That’s it,” Price said after his ALDS start. “My main goal is to win in the playoffs, to win a World Series ... And whatever I need to do to help us do that, I’m fine with. But I know I’m more than capable of winning games as a starter in October. That’s what I look forward to doing.”
Nats acquire Barraclough
WASHINGTON (AP) — Right-handed reliever Kyle Barraclough was acquired by Washington from Miami on Wednesday in the Nationals' first offseason move to rebuild their bullpen.
Washington sent the Marlins $1 million in international slot allotment as part of the deal.
Barraclough went 1-6 with 4.20 ERA and 10 saves in 17 chances during 61 appearances this year. He allowed one hit in 36 at-bats in June, when he was chosen NL reliever of the month, but struggled with his command the rest of the season.
Barraclough’s ERA ballooned to 10.24 over his final 24 games and he lost the Marlins closer’s job. His fastball average velocity dropped from 155 kph in 2016 to 151 kph this year.
He has a 3.21 career ERA with 279 strikeouts and 134 walks in 218 2/3 innings over four seasons, all with Miami.
Washington general manager Mike Rizzo is in need of relievers after jettisoning Shawn Kelley and Brandon Kintzler late this season.
Miami obtained greater financial flexibility to pursue 22-year-old Cuban outfielder Victor Victor Mesa, an international amateur free agent who showcased for major league scouts at Marlins Park last week. Miami started with $6,044,500 in available allotment for its 2018-19 international signing bonus pool, has increased it to $8,044,500 and has spent $1,975,000, leaving $6,069,500 remaining.Speech