BOSTON -- The preferred formula for the Red Sox in today's Game 3 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan would be to get five or six innings out of Doug Fister and then, with a lead, hand the rest of the game over to Addison Reed, Craig
BOSTON -- The preferred formula for the Red Sox in today's Game 3 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan would be to get five or six innings out of Doug Fister and then, with a lead, hand the rest of the game over to Addison Reed, Craig Kimbrel and possibly David Price.
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But with his team down, 2-0, to the hot-hitting Astros in the best-of-five series, manager John Farrell is prepared for any and all scenarios, and one could even include a bullpen appearance from lefty ace Chris Sale.
"It's possible, yes," said Farrell.
Farrell's first priority is to get through Game 3. In fact, he won't decide on a Game 4 starter until he sees which pitchers are needed today.
Price, who has been used exclusively as a reliever since being activated from the disabled list on Sept. 14, could start Game 4 if he isn't needed in relief in Game 3. The lefty fired 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in Game 2, throwing 38 pitches.
Price is not stretched out, so if he started, it would probably be for three or four innings, and the Red Sox would make it a bullpen game from there.
Rick Porcello, who won the AL Cy Young Award last season, could also start Game 4. But he's another candidate to pitch in relief in Game 3. The same goes for left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, a rotation member during the regular season.
"We're focused on tomorrow," Farrell said on Saturday. "Anything as it relates to who would start on Game 4 on Monday, we'll get to that when we get through tomorrow. But we have a couple of different ways we can go with that in terms of the starter for Game 4.
"David's going through his throwing program right now. I'll get a better sense. I would anticipate he'll be available tomorrow [in relief]. So how that impacts going forward, it's too early to tell that.
"Tomorrow, yes, there's certainly a sense of urgency. You saw how we attacked [Game 2]. We didn't hold back. We won't tomorrow. So again, getting a sense of who is available and for how long tomorrow, once we build into the beginning of the ballgame tomorrow, that will be factored into who is being held back. Tomorrow we've got to go out and play well and win."
The possibility of Sale pitching in relief on two days' rest in Game 3 is an intriguing one. The lefty was hit hard in Game 1 (five-plus innings, nine hits, seven runs) and isn't likely to start again in the series unless there is a Game 5 on Wednesday in Houston.
The first 21 appearances of Sale's career came as a reliever, but his last appearance out of the bullpen was in 2012.
Mookie good to go
Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts has been dealing with discomfort in his left wrist for the last couple of weeks, and it flared up on him during his final at-bat in Game 2. But Farrell expects he will be in the lineup for Game 3.
"Good, he went through some treatment today, so he responded [well]," Farrell said. "He had a little bit of a zinger in the hand in that at-bat, his last at-bat. But he's going to take BP here today, so he's full go."
Standard lineup, including Pedroia
Though the offense hasn't produced as hoped in the first two games, Farrell anticipates going with the players who got him to the postseason. That includes Dustin Pedroia, who has played with discomfort in his left knee all season. Since returning from his second stint on the disabled list in September, Pedroia hasn't been much of a factor at the plate, slashing .242/.320/.318 with one homer and eight RBIs.
"As good as he can be right now," Farrell said of Pedroia. "I thought yesterday leading into the game, it was probably the best he's felt in quite some time. So he's 100 percent of what he is right now."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.