LOS ANGELES -- One win away from winning a World Series title in his rookie season as a manager, Alex Cora appears poised to make surprise moves right up until the champagne flows.
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Following Saturday's 9-6 triumph, which gave the Red Sox a commanding 3-1 lead over the Dodgers in the World Series, Cora matter-of-factly announced that David Price will start Sunday's Game 5 instead of ace Chris Sale.
Price will be making the start on three days of rest, though he threw 13 pitches in relief in Friday's Game 3, a 3-2 loss in 18 innings. Sale would have been on regular rest.
Cora did the same thing with a 3-1 lead in the American League Championship Series, but there were extenuating circumstances: Sale had been hospitalized earlier in the week with a stomach illness.
Last time the decision worked magnificently, as Price spun a gem (six shutout innings, three hits, no walks, nine strikeouts) to close out the Astros for his first career win as a starter in the postseason.
This time, Cora said, it is a pure baseball decision.
"We feel like David is good tomorrow. [Sale] is OK, Chris is good [health-wise]," said Cora. "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."
Price has made five appearances this postseason, including four starts, going 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA. He faced three batters in the ninth inning on Friday, allowing a single to Cody Bellinger, getting Yasiel Puig to fly to right and then walking Yasmani Grandal after Bellinger was caught stealing.
Sale dealt with inflammation in his left shoulder over the final two months of the regular season and hasn't been vintage in the postseason, accumulating just 13 1/3 innings in three starts while going 1-0 with a 4.73 ERA. He did dominate in the bullpen in clinching Game 4 of the AL Division Series at Yankee Stadium, and Cora hinted that he could be used in relief again should the Red Sox have a chance to close out the World Series on Sunday.
"Actually, he'll be back there [in the bullpen], and if necessary in Game 6, he's the starter," said Cora.
The Dodgers will go with their unquestioned best in Game 5, with lefty Clayton Kershaw taking the ball.