Editor’s note: Starting Monday, March 23, NESN will re-air memorable games from the Boston Red Sox’s World Series runs. Up next is Game 2 of the 2013 American League Division Series vs. the Tampa Bay Rays. Get the full schedule by clicking here.
Let’s be honest: Game 1 of the 2013 American League Division Series was about Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Wil Myers.
The young slugger lost a Game 1 fly ball in the sun, and it served as the smelling salts for a lethargic Boston Red Sox offense, as they rolled to a 12-2 win.
Game 2 brought a familiar foe to the Fenway Park pitcher’s mound with a redemption story beginning as Boston’s starter toed the slab.
Here are six things you may have forgotten about Game 2 that can be seen Monday night on NESN at 6 p.m. ET.
1. Playoff Lack
Was John Lackey perfect in this game? No, not at all, as evidenced by his final pitching line: 5 1/3 innings, four runs (all earned) on seven hits, three walks with six strikeouts. But Lackey, as he always did in big games, grinded his tail off. The big right-hander entered this pivotal Game 2 with a career 3.12 postseason ERA, and this strong-ish start actually proved to be his worst outing of the playoffs, as he turned it on later in the fall.
2. Playoff Price
The reason Lackey’s outing, which didn’t even qualify for a quality start, looks so good? Because David Price lived up to his personal postseason narrative — and that’s not a good thing. The reigning Cy Young Award winner struggled early, and he struggled often. Price spotted the Red Sox two runs in the first inning, two more in the third, one in the fourth and another in the fifth. That effectively ended the game, but Price actually hung around to eat up seven innings, allowing seven earned runs when it was all said and done. The stinker raised his career postseason ERA to 5.06. Coincidentally, Price would finally exorcise his postseason demons five years later — as a member of the Red Sox, of course.
3. David Ortiz does David Ortiz stuff
The biggest play of the game might have come in the bottom of the first inning. With the Red Sox already up a run, Ortiz hit a towering home run into the Red Sox bullpen to set the tone for Price’s long day and night. He got Price again in the seventh inning with another long ball, the first and only time in his storied career he hit two home runs in a playoff game.
“He told some guys before the game he was going to hit two home runs and he did,” Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks told reporters after the game. “That’s pretty impressive. A couple of us heard him say it. (David Ross) and I looked at each other (afterward). ‘He said he was going to do that, didn’t he?'”
4. Nerd alert!
Price, perhaps previewing things to come in his Red Sox career, had a little run-in with the media after the game. Annoyed by another postseason letdown, Price mumbled “Nice questions, nerds” as he finished his press conference. Later in the night, Price had national baseball analysts Dirk Hayhurst and Tom Verducci in the crosshairs.
One tweet read: “Dirk Hayhurst…COULDNT hack it…Tom Verducci wasn’t even a water boy in high school…but yet they can still bash a player…SAVE IT NERDS.”
Save it, nerds! Ha!
Price also touted his career accomplishments.
“Trust me I don’t want sympathy…” his tweet read. “I got beat tonight…so be it..I’ll bounce back…3x ALLSTAR…2 time player choice…runner up cy…AND CY”
He also was quick to point out to a Twitter follower who “forgot CLEAN sweep of every college award…NEVER BEEN DONE.”
A good old-fashioned meltdown.
5. The pen is mightier
As we relive Boston’s 2013 World Series over the next couple of weeks, this won’t be the last time the Sox’s bullpen comes up. Give John Farrell credit. He did a masterful job in his handling of his bullpen in Game 2, calling on unheralded stalwart Craig Breslow to bridge the gap to the back end. Breslow wiggled out of Lackey’s jam in the sixth inning before getting himself out of trouble in the seventh by inducing a beautiful, series-solidifying 4-6-3 double play. The pen’s final line in Game 2: 3 2/3 innings, zero runs, one hit, one walk and two strikeouts.
6. Fenway has its fun
After Myers’ costly misplay in Game 1, he had a chance to “redeem” himself late in Game 2 by easily catching a routine fly ball in the fifth inning. Sox fans responded in kind, and credit to Myers, he took it all in stride.