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For Rick Porcello, Game 4 at Yankee Stadium is ‘what it’s all about’

Rick Porcello, the Red Sox’ starter for Game 4, grew up less than an hour from Yankee Stadium.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

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NEW YORK — Rick Porcello grew up about 40 miles from Yankee Stadium in Morristown, N.J., so close that he will often spend a night at the home he has there when the Red Sox get a day off in New York.

Porcello has pitched seven times at Yankee Stadium during his career, but Tuesday night will be his first postseason game in the Bronx.

“I couldn’t think of a better spot to be in as a big leaguer, getting the opportunity to have the ball for Game 4 in Yankee Stadium. That’s what it’s all about,” Porcello said Monday.


With the Sox taking a 2-1 series lead with a 16-1 rout of the Yankees, a victory on Tuesday would put the Sox in the American League Championship Series for the first time since 2013.

“We’re confident in him. He goes out there, and he attacks,” left fielder Andrew Benintendi said of Porcello. “He’s going to take it right to them. Hopefully, we can put up a good number of runs tomorrow and get out of here with a win.”

Porcello, who will face CC Sabathia, was lined up to start Game 3. But he faced three batters in relief in Game 1 and the decision was made to push him back a day.

The change in schedule did not affect him.

“No, not at all,” Porcello said. “Just kind of seeing how everything shapes up. Especially in the short series, you got to be ready for anything. I was prepared to pitch Game 1 and ready to pitch Game 4 now.”

Porcello was 2-0 with a 2.31 earned run average in four starts against the Yankees this season and has a 2.61 ERA in 13 starts in all since being traded to the Red Sox.


The righthander pitched one of the best games of his career against the Yankees at Fenway Park on Aug 3, allowing one run on one hit over nine innings and struck out nine without a walk.

The only hit in his 86-pitch gem was a home run by Miguel Andujar in the third inning. Porcello then retired the final 21 in a row.

“I just think attacking their hitters, that’s the biggest thing,” Porcello said.

“These guys are very good hitters. They’re very well coached. They have a solid approach.

“If you fall behind guys, you give them the opportunity to see pitches in the strike zone. That’s the only way you can get back into the count because they’re disciplined and they don’t chase a lot. I think attacking, being aggressive, and go from there.”

The only issue now is avoiding requests for tickets from his friends in New Jersey.

“I learned how to say no, so there’s not that many people coming,” Porcello said.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora (front right) embraces Yankees counterpart Aaron Boone before Game 3 Monday night.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

No Sale (in Game 4)

“No, no, no “ said manager Alex Cora when asked if he would consider starting Chris Sale on short rest on Tuesday instead of waiting for a possible Game 5 on Thursday.

It’s also unlikely Sale would pitch in relief.

“If you ask him, he’ll pitch today,” Cora said.

“That’s the nature of the playoffs. The mentality of all these guys is ‘Push, push, push; grind, grind, grind,’ in the great words of Mike Lowell. But we’ve got to be smart, too. We’ve got other guys we feel can do the job.”


Sale had two stints on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, making it very unlikely the Red Sox would take any chances with him now.

First base umpire Angel Hernandez (front center) had a tough go of it in the field Monday with three of his calls being overturned by instant replay. Hernandez wil be behind the plate for Game 4.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Moreland recovering

First baseman Mitch Moreland, who strained his right hamstring running the bases in the seventh inning of Game 2, did not play. On Sunday, Cora was “very concerned” the Sox would have to replace Moreland on the roster. But that dissipated a bit on Monday. “For him not to play, it takes a lot,” Cora said. “It’s tough to see him that way, honestly.” Moreland is unlikely to be in the lineup against Sabathia, a lefthander . . . First base umpire Angel Hernandez had a poor game. Four of his calls were challenged and three overturned. Yahoo Sports reported that Hernandez declined comment. MLB issued a statement that said, “There were several very close calls at first base tonight, and we are glad that instant replay allowed the umpiring crew to achieve the proper result on all of them.” . . . The 16 runs for the Sox were the second-most in a playoff game in franchise history. They beat Cleveland, 23-5, in a Division Series game in 1999 . . . The seven runs in the fourth inning matched a franchise record for a postseason inning . . . Brock Holt’s five RBIs were the most for a Sox player in the postseason since Dustin Pedroia had five in Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS.


A steady mist fell at Yankee Stadium as the teams took batting practice Monday.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Could Price pitch

David Price told Cora he would be available to pitch Monday. Cora seemed unlikely to take him up on that because the lefthander threw 42 pitches Saturday.

But Cora has not ruled out the idea of using Price in relief at some point in the series, despite his woes against the Yankees this season.

“He told me that he’s all in. We’ll see how it goes,” Cora said.

Cora burst out laughing when asked why fans should believe Price can “mentally handle’” the postseason.

“There’s been guys around the league that they struggle their first 10 [postseason starts],” Cora said.

“[Justin] Verlander. Nobody remembers that he wasn’t very good early in his career in the playoffs and now he’s kind of like the poster child of playoff baseball.”

Cora was somewhat correct. Verlander was 3-3 with a 5.57 ERA in his first eight postseason starts. Clayton Kershaw is another example. He was 1-6 with a 4.86 ERA in his first nine postseason starts.

Price is 0-9 with a 6.03 ERA in 10 playoff starts. But he has a 2.35 ERA in eight relief appearances.

“One thing for sure, he’s in the same spirits,” Cora said.

Yankees fans were in good spirits, too.

They mockingly cheered Price when he was introduced before the game.

They had booed all of the other Red Sox, even the athletic trainers and coaches.

In perspective

Cora was asked how many friends, famous or otherwise, have reached out to him during the postseason. “I got a lot of texts after Game 1, and for some reason didn’t get too many after Game 2,” he said. “I think people get, like, scared that you lost a game. You can text me. There’s other stuff in life that we’re going through.” . . . Four-time World Series champion Tino Martinez threw out the first pitch . . . The Yankees have a small section of seats in right field dubbed the Judge’s Chambers for Aaron Judge. They invited the families of some fallen NYPD officers to sit there Monday. On Tuesday, the seats will be for Red Cross volunteers who assisted with relief efforts after Hurricane Florence.