HOUSTON — The Red Sox are in a world of pitching hurt. It wasn’t supposed to be this way after they traded for whirling dervish lefty Chris Sale.
Sale collapsed in his first career postseason game following 180 regular-season starts, losing 8-2 to the Astros and Justin Verlander on Thursday in Game 1 of the ALDS. And now David Price, the $217 million lefty, is staying in the bullpen so Doug Fister will be the Game 3 starter Sunday in Boston.
How’s that going to work out against the powerful Astros? Nothing worked for Sale.
“It sucked,’’ Sale said after surrendering nine hits, seven runs and three home runs in five innings. “It was a terrible time for this to happen … just made bad mistakes. … This one is on me, I take full responsibility for this one. I have to get better. No excuses. Bad time to suck.
“I just made bad pitches to good hitters.’’
Jose Altuve hit two of his three home runs against Sale. This could really get ugly quickly for the Red Sox, who will start lefty Drew Pomeranz in Game 2 against lefty Dallas Keuchel.
John Farrell decided starting Fister in Game 3 is the best course of action, leaving Price in the bullpen.
“With the return of David Price and him remaining in the bullpen is one [reason],’’ Farrell explained. “The way Doug is throwing the ball and the action of the stuff that he has shown or brought to the mound in the starts that he’s made for us, that’s where we are with Fister on the mound, Game 3.’’
The Red Sox are also learning what it’s like to play a postseason without David Ortiz. Not as much fun as Ortiz produced 17 home runs and 57 RBIs in the postseason over 76 games for the Red Sox in addition to being named the World Series MVP in 2013, when he batted a cool .688.
The series got off to a brutal start for Boston when Eduardo Nunez went down with a serious knee injury running to first base in the first inning and had to be carried off the field by Farrell and a team trainer. Nunez had been having knee problems and the knee completely gave out on him after grounding to third base. Hanley Ramirez replaced Nunez at designated hitter.
It was a terrible day all around for the Red Sox. Their leader, second baseman Dustin Pedroia, did not produce. In the second inning he was thrown out at third as Mitch Moreland just crossed the plate to end the inning. Pedroia (0-for-3 with a walk) also popped to second with two runners on in the fourth. He looked out of sync all game.
If the Astros pummel Pomeranz like they did Sale, Houston will roll. The Astros were only 21-23 against left-handed starters this season even though they had great individual numbers. Farrell is playing that card the first two games. It did not work in Game 1 and he now has to find a way to beat the Astros three of the next four games.