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That game was a bummer, but everything is fine

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And if it’s not, this column never happened.

Division Series - Boston Red Sox v Cleveland Indians - Game One Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

I don’t think we’re gonna freak out today, honestly. When Thursday night’s Game One was 5-3 in the eighth inning I was worried, but Brock Holt’s towering home run, followed by the Sox’s ninth-inning rally, gave Red Sox fans a reason to be confident coming into today’s David Price/Corey Kluber showdown. Cleveland’s bullpen is taxed and the Red Sox are a better team, if not a better-managed one.

What Terry Francona did with his pitching staff yesterday was magical. Days after Buck Showalter showed how not to manage a bullpen, Francona, apparently a big Sam Miller fan, put on a clinic in quickly summoning the dominant Andrew Miller and calling on Cody Allen prior to the ninth inning.

But wait, you might ask: Didn’t you just say the bullpen was taxed? I did, but it was the Red Sox who taxed it, not Tito. In the playoffs, a win today (yesterday) is always worth the cost of some inconvenience tomorrow (today), especially when tomorrow’s (today’s) pitcher is Corey Kluber. I know the Sox have done well against Kluber in the past, but I’m still scared. Pretty much any major league starter with his best stuff can shut down an offense -- remember when Edwin Jackson straight-up owned us last month? -- and the better pitchers are better because they can play this trick more often. Kluber is certainly one of the better ones.

So is David Price, though. I’ve written about him all season at Baseball Prospectus Boston, and this year’s running theme has been that he had outperformed his peripherals by quite a bit, so much so that toward the end of the season I wrote that he had probably pitched better than Cy Young candidate (favorite?) Rick Porcello. I don’t think there’s any chance he wins or even deserves the award, but this analysis gives me hope for today, one day after Porcello sort of stank it up.

On that note, Rick Porcello is allowed yesterday’s bummer of a start, even if some of us sort of saw it coming. For all the Porcello hagiographies penned at the end of this miracle year, the fact is that he’s not as good a pitcher as he showed this season, nor is he the Sox’ best starter. It is perfectly understandable that he started game one, but it is, unfortunately, perfectly understandable how he got teed off upon by a good hitting team. He wasn’t basically the worst qualified starter in the American League last year entirely by accident.

I still think the Sox will win the series, but the playoffs are such an insane day-to-day roller coaster that it’s hard to feel that way until game two gets underway and the Sox start putting the bat on the ball again. To that end, it’s upsetting to see Xander Bogaerts struggling so much, and I hope he gets straightened out soon. He’s bumming me out!

On the flip side, despite some very real concern that having Brock Holt hitting second was a bad decision, Mr. \o/ more than justified it with his bravura offensive performance yesterday. A slightly niftier slide into home plate and his game is basically perfect. All of this is perhaps no thanks to John Farrell — even with Holt’s breakout, you could call this a bit of mismanagement, if you were so inclined — but it’s nothing to rake Farrell over the coals over, given the result.

All that said, it’s probably better for Andrew Benintendi to be hitting second. Hitting ninth has worked well and all that, but he’s the perfect No. 2 hitter for this team right now, especially now that his haircut has streamlined the air currents around his head, making him that much faster. Speaking of which, it’s a great looking haircut now, despite what some “friends” of the program believe.

After one game, there’s no reason for you to pull out your own hair, however… but by the end of the night, you might be so inclined. There’s no such thing as a must-win game in a best-of-five series before an elimination game, and the Sox have proven this over and over and over. Coming back from two games to none is something of their calling card. We have smartphones now, though. We don’t need calling cards. We need instant gratification.

David Price, this is why you’re here. Make it happen.