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World Series: Red Sox turn to Price in potential closeout game vs. Dodgers

By Doug Padilla, The Sports Xchange
World Series: Red Sox turn to Price in potential closeout game vs. Dodgers
Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price gestures toward his dugout after pitching during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the 2018 World Series on Friday night at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES -- After a 24-inning offensive slumber that threatened to reset the World Series and turn it into a best-of-three affair, the Boston Red Sox found life again, putting them one victory from a fourth title since 2004.

Struggling to score runs for the second consecutive day, the Red Sox were reborn with nine runs in the final three innings Saturday. Boston can now clinch another title in Game 5 on Sunday at Dodger Stadium.

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Red Sox left-hander David Price will have a chance to deliver that championship as he will be on the mound for Game 5 in Los Angeles.

Price threw 13 pitches in relief during Friday's marathon game and owns a 2-1 mark with a 4.26 ERA in five appearances this postseason.

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The 33-year-old Price was masterful in his last start, recording his first career postseason win as a starter by scattering three hits over six scoreless innings as the Red Sox closed out the Houston Astros. Price also struck out nine without walking a batter in that contest.

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"We feel like David is good [for Sunday]. [Chris Sale] is OK, Chris is good [health-wise]," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "We talked about it before the game, and this is a good spot for David, in a National League park to start a game. Obviously, he's been throwing the ball well."

Sale, it appears, will be saved for a potential Game 5 relief appearance and Game 6 start in Boston on Tuesday -- if necessary.

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On Saturday, the Red Sox looked every bit like a team that had a marathon game stolen from them one day earlier. Losing 3-2 in 18 innings, as they did in Game 3, has a way of changing the mood.

Now, the Red Sox can taste what they came for and what has been expected of them since getting off to a red-hot start in April and rolling to a 108-win season.

The Dodgers took a completely different path into late October, falling 10 games below .500 at one point and looking utterly lost as late as mid-May. They needed a 163rd game to win the National League West.

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In essence, they have been playing catch-up for a long time now, and that won't stop now, needing three consecutive victories to overcome the Red Sox.

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"We're all disappointed," said Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, who blew leads in each of the last two games, giving up a home run to Jackie Bradley Jr. in Game 3 and one to Steve Pearce in Game 4. "We can't think about what happened. It's the same thing for all managers, coaches and players. We can't question ourselves.

"It's another day tomorrow. It's not over until it's over. We have another chance [Sunday] and we'll give it our best shot."

The Dodgers will turn to Clayton Kershaw on Sunday as he will make his second appearance of the 2018 World Series. Like Sale, Kershaw went four innings in Game 1, taking the loss after giving up five runs and seven hits.

For the most part, though, starting pitching has not been the Dodgers' problem. The bullpen has been vulnerable.

Not only has Jansen had his issues, right-hander Ryan Madson has allowed all seven of his inherited runners to score.

After Friday's seven-hour, 20-minute tussle earned the Dodgers' bullpen praise, Saturday's defeat showed how quickly fortunes can change.

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"There are only two teams left in the big leagues right now and both teams are going to fight 'til the end," Cora said. "Sometimes in October we talk about mechanics and how you feel at the plate and all that, and sometimes it's will."

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