Kevin McNamara: Its time for Red Sox to show their mettle

BOSTON MA.- OCTOBER 3 Boston Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt bunts as the Red Sox practice prior to the ALDS at Fenway Park

Judge walked past the Red Sox clubhouse with a speaker playing some special NY music.

Either the Red Sox or Yankees will face defending champion Houston or the Cleveland Indians in the American League Championship Series, with the Astros moving to the brink of advancing Saturday with a 3-1 home victory over Cleveland.

As Bryan Hoch of MLB.com noted, in the history of the 2-2-1 Postseason format, teams headed home tied at 1-1, go onto win the series 64 percent of the time.

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez continued his assault of Sox lefthander Davis Price, and is now 7-for-14 in his career against the former Cy Young victor, with home runs accounting for six of his seven hits. To say what the Red Sox are doing is equal to what the Astros did isn't entirely accurate.

As sure as all the normal, recognizable signs of autumn, we present to you David Price as a starting pitcher in October.

The Red Sox managed just five hits with a Xander Bogaerts solo homer in the fourth the only swat of significance. The Game 2 defeat wiped out the Red Sox hard-earned 108-win regular season and shifted the home-field advantage in this series back to the Yankees.

And it almost happened that way.

Gary Sanchez did him one better. There's an urgency to a best-of-five series two games in, and Price did pitch well in his relief stints last October. Brasier motioned impatiently for Sanchez to get back in the box, and told him so in some impolite terms.

Boston's Ian Kinsler responded with a run-scoring double in the seventh but the Red Sox came no closer.

Yankees players were ready for familiar sounds when the series resume.

Perhaps more notably, Sanchez brought two more Yankees home with him to extend the lead to 6-1, a margin that was going to be easily insurmountable.

Eovaldi had a 3.33 ERA in 11 starts for the Red Sox after he was acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay. He's the No. 2 starter in the rotation behind Chris Sale. He pitched four and 4 2/3 innings in two starts in last year's ALCS, then was pulled in the fifth inning in Wednesday's wild-card game against the Oakland A's. The Yankees' second batter of the game, Judge, crushed a home run to left-center field, at estimated 445 feet - Judge's third homer in three games this postseason. Although Sanchez told ESPN's Buster Olney, postgame, that he didn't think much of it, considering Brasier struck out Sanchez with a 97 miles per hour fastball, Brasier's brashness went unwarranted upon Sanchez's nail in the coffin homer, two frames later. Going into the playoffs, Rick Porcello was expected to be the Game 3 starter for Boston, but Porcello game out of the bullpen in the series opener.

With four more years and $127 million left on Price contract, there is plenty of time to debate whether his acute postseason woes are some sort of character flaw, such as a sheer inability to handle the pressure, or a random fluke of statistics and small sample sizes. There will also be, one presumes, more chances in the future for Price to flip this bad script.

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