NEW YORK -- Closing out the Yankees on their home turf won't be easy. But the Red Sox will get their shot in Game 4 of the American League Division Series tonight, and they're putting the ball in the hands of the second AL Cy Young Award winner in their
NEW YORK -- Closing out the Yankees on their home turf won't be easy. But the Red Sox will get their shot in Game 4 of the American League Division Series tonight, and they're putting the ball in the hands of the second AL Cy Young Award winner in their rotation.
Rick Porcello, pushed back a game after making a relief appearance in Game 1, will start with a chance to send the Red Sox to the AL Championship Series. Boston holds a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series after a dominant 16-1 win on Monday night in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium.
"This is what it's all about," Porcello said on Monday afternoon. "You get an opportunity to have the ball in Yankee Stadium, Game 4, this is the culmination of the entire season -- it leads up to your opportunities in the postseason."
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The Red Sox are the first team to beat the Yanks in a playoff game in the Bronx in the last eight tries. They'll look to Porcello to do it for a second straight night. It wouldn't be the first time the right-hander dominated the Yankees this season.
On Aug. 3, Porcello one-hit New York in a complete-game masterpiece. He also threw seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball to beat the Yankees on April 12.
Now, both of those wins came at Fenway Park. Pitching at Yankee Stadium can be a different animal, especially in a playoff atmosphere. In Porcello's only start in New York this season, he was knocked around for five runs in 5 1/3 innings.
And Porcello hasn't been at his sharpest in the playoffs -- he has a 5.33 ERA in 12 career postseason games, and a 5.85 ERA in the four that were starts. Porcello's only quality start in the playoffs came with the Tigers in 2011.
But unlike David Price, his Cy Young Award rotation-mate who also has a rocky postseason history -- and who was roughed up in by the Yankees in Game 2 -- Porcello at least has recent success against the Yanks to lean on.
"Rick's a bulldog," Andrew Benintendi said. "He doesn't care what situation he's thrown in. You saw the other night, he came in in the eighth inning. He just wants to win. We're confident in him. He goes out there, and he attacks. He's going to take it right to them."
Porcello will also be pitching with a fully rested bullpen behind him, as Nathan Eovaldi's seven-inning effort and the lopsided result in Game 3 allowed Boston's key relievers to get a night off.
And even if Porcello falters in tonight's matchup against Carsten Sabathia, the Red Sox would have Chris Sale -- also fully rested, and already having beaten the Yankees in Game 1 -- lined up to pitch a winner-take-all Game 5 at Fenway Park.
"The only thing we know is that if we don't win tomorrow, we have a Game 5. That's the only thing we gain today," manager Alex Cora said after Game 3. "But we've got a chance to come here and play a good game, and see what happens. I know they trust CC. We trust Rick. Veteran guys, they've done it for a few years. It should be fun."
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.