What the Red Sox have taught us so far this postseason
Jim Monaghan Content Coordinator
Photo courtesy of the Boston Red Sox
Winning 108 games in the regular season is clearly an incredible accomplishment for any team.
And winning the division for the third straight year is equally impressive.
But the fact that the Red Sox have had two straight first-round playoff exits put a slight damper on the team's 2018 success. So beating the Yankees to advance to the American League Championship Series was something that the Sox simply HAD to do - at least for part of the fan base.
So what have we learned about the Red Sox in these first six games of the 2018 playoffs?
ROAD WARRIORS - as they head into Game 3 on Tuesday afternoon, the Sox know they can win on the road. Their two victories over the Yankees - in which they demoralized their staunch rivals in both Bronx wins - should help Boston fans nervous about the team being in Houston for the next three games.
SALE'S NOT RIGHT - whether it's really a stomach issue, or there's something amiss with his left arm, the fact remains that Chris Sale clearly wasn't 100% in Game 1 against Houston. He pitched into the 6th inning against the Yankees in the American League Division Series but only touched 96 mph once after the second inning. Against the Astros in Game 1 of the ALCS, Sale hit 96 once (he hit Martin Maldonado in the second inning with that one) and 94 mph once (also in the second inning).
PRICE ISN'T EITHER - oh sure, the Red Sox finally won a playoff game he started with the Game 2 victory over the Astros, but he was hardly dominant in that game and couldn't finish the 5th inning. It was most certainly NOT the kind of performance that would give anyone confidence with him in a possible Game 5 start in Houston with the season on the line.
CORA'S LINEUPS - Alex Cora has shown he's not averse to playing hunches (see Holt, Brock in Game 3 vs the Yankees) and sitting the hot hand (again, see Holt, Brock in Game 4 vs the Yankees). His use of Rick Porcello both as a starter and out of the bullpen in both the ALDS and ALCS has been a bit unconventional too.
PORCELLO - I can't imagine a scenario in which Cora takes him out of the starting rotation during the postseason to use him exclusively out of the bullpen, but Porcello's performance in two playoff relief appearances - including the fiery reaction to his ALCS Game 2 strikeout of Carlos Correa in the top of the 8th inning - makes you wonder if he might not be the best option as a bridge to Craig Kimbrel late in games.
THE OFFENSE - a win is a win, but three of Boston's four playoff wins have been by slim margins. It makes you wonder when (if) they will collectively break out. I'm specifically thinking J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts here.
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