BOSTON -- After starting Game 4 for the Red Sox in the American League Division Series and the AL Championship Series, Rick Porcello has been bumped up to Game 3 for the World Series.In all three rounds, manager Alex Cora has waited to see how the bullpen got through two
BOSTON -- After starting Game 4 for the Red Sox in the American League Division Series and the AL Championship Series, Rick Porcello has been bumped up to Game 3 for the World Series.
In all three rounds, manager Alex Cora has waited to see how the bullpen got through two games in the series before announcing his Game 3 starter.
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Nathan Eovaldi worked the eighth inning in Games 1 and 2 of the World Series, which is why Porcello will get the nod when the festivities switch to Los Angeles on Friday night.
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity," Porcello said. "That's a good ballclub over there. They're versatile, and I'm ready for the challenge."
It was Porcello who was needed out of the 'pen in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees and in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Astros.
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Eovaldi, who has been magnificent as a starter and reliever in the 2018 playoffs, is a candidate to start Game 4. But Cora is also keeping Eovaldi in play for the eighth inning of Game 3, if Boston needs him.
"You never know," Cora said. "Like I've been saying all along, we're all-in every day. If we feel there's a chance to close the door with them, we'll use him. The way it's mapped out, it's Rick in Game 3 and maybe Nate in Game 4. But Nate might come in in the eighth again. If we have a chance to be up 3-0 with him on the mound, and then [Craig Kimbrel], we'll do it. And then we'll figure out Game 4."
If the Red Sox do not use Eovaldi to start Game 4, their alternatives are limited. The most likely option would be left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, but he hasn't had an outing of more than 3 2/3 innings since Sept. 13, so he isn't fully stretched out and likely couldn't be counted on for much more than three innings. Starting Chris Sale on short rest would be another possibility, but given his recent health issues that cost him much of the second half of the season, that would be a surprise.
As for the veteran Porcello, Game 3 will be the first World Series start of his career. He did pitch a scoreless inning of relief for the Tigers in Game 1 of the 2012 Fall Classic.
In his two starts this postseason, Porcello is 1-0 with a 5.00 ERA. He was strong in a win in Game 4 of the ALDS at Yankee Stadium, allowing one run over five innings. But in Game 4 of the ALCS, Porcello had a tougher time against the Astros, giving up seven hits, four runs and two homers in a no-decision.
Rookie right-hander Walker Buehler -- who had a 2.62 ERA in 24 games this year, but has a 5.40 ERA in three postseason starts -- gets the ball for the Dodgers.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.