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Red Sox left-handed hitters were the key to overcoming David Price

Oct 5, 2013, 9:03 PM EDT

Division Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox - Game Two Getty Images

During the regular season, Rays left-handed starter David Price was murder on left-handed hitters, holding them to a .489 OPS, the sixth-best OPS allowed to lefties among qualified starters. (The others: Chris Sale, Matt Harvey, Clayton Kershaw, C.J. Wilson, and Madison Bumgarner.) You wouldn’t have known it if you watched the left-handed side of the Red Sox lineup dismantle him tonight in Game 2 of the ALDS.

Jacoby Ellsbury went 3-for-4 with an RBI double, a stolen base, and three runs scored.

David Ortiz went 2-for-4 with two solo home runs.

Stephen Drew went 1-for-4 with an RBI triple.

For those of you keeping score, that’s 6-for-12 with four extra-base hits, four RBI, five runs, and a stolen base, representing almost all of the offense the Red Sox generated tonight against Price. They did it with aggression. Ellsbury saw a total of seven pitches in his first three at-bats in which he logged his three hits. Ortiz hit each of his two home runs on the second pitch of the at-bat. Drew swung at three of the first four pitches he saw before breaking through with the triple on the sixth pitch of the at-bat.

On a night when starter John Lackey wasn’t at his best — he allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks in 5.1 innings — they needed everyone in the lineup to pitch in and they did. Every batter in the lineup reached base at least once, and Mike Napoli was the only one who didn’t finish with at least one hit (though he walked twice). But it was the lefties who really shone through and gave Lackey the support he desperately needed to walk away with the W.

  1. theskinsman - Oct 5, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Anyone think Jackie Bradley Jr. would’ve gone 3-for-4 with an RBI double, a stolen base, and three runs scored? Ellsbury is the table setter and disrupter with his threat to steal. Great show by Boston against a very good team and an excellent pitcher.

    • coloradostupid - Oct 5, 2013 at 9:48 PM

      Jackie Bradley Jr will be at that level in the 2017 season – make no mistake about it. In 2013, it’s going to be very fun to watch – can’t wait until Monday.

      • theskinsman - Oct 6, 2013 at 5:49 AM

        Let’s hope so! The point I was making is the Sox need Ells for this playoff run.

    • aceshigh11 - Oct 5, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      Any chance the Sox will be able to keep him, or will try to?

      • drewzducks - Oct 5, 2013 at 11:05 PM

        They’ll make an effort, albeit halfhearted, but Scott Boras is calling the shots. That, together with the Pence overpay, will likely send GM out of town.

      • aceshigh11 - Oct 5, 2013 at 11:10 PM

        Yeah, I agree.

        My head tells me that letting him go is the correct decision, but man…when he’s good, he’s GOOD.

        But the concerns over his ability to stay healthy are legit, and coupled with Boras and the size and length of the contract he’ll be seeking…I doubt a deal is gonna get done.

      • theskinsman - Oct 6, 2013 at 5:53 AM

        With Boras as his agent,I doubt he stays. But he’s too old for a huge long term deal, IMHO. Great when he’s healthy.
        I trust Cherington will make a fair offer,then move on to JBJ. Meanwhile, let’s hope Ellsbury has an epic playoff run!

  2. spudchukar - Oct 5, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Loney continues to shine for the Rays. All he had to do was get out of the National League.

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