Joe Maddon had a bevy of bullpen options in the eighth inning of last night's Game Seven tussle and he simply couldn't decide which option to choose. So he chose them all. Starter Matt Garza (0 outs) gave way to righty Dan Wheeler (1 out) who gave way to lefty J.P. Howell (1 out) who gave way to sidearmer Chad Bradford (0 outs) who gave way to rookie David Price, making his third appearance in the playoffs after just five games in the regular season. Price finished out the eighth by striking out J.D. Drew with the bases loaded, and it was all easy coasting downhill from there for the youngster.
Price was the #1 pick in the 2007 draft and he earned his bonus with the next three outs he got, the final outs of the ALCS. Kid earned his first career save by striking out Jason Varitek swinging and Mark Kotsay looking, and then getting Jed Lowrie to ground into a fielders choice. Somebody send a search and rescue team into the Trop; I think Kotsay is still standing at home plate staring at that slider. Think about it: Maddon put a rookie on the mound in the biggest spot of the season, leaving Grant Balfour and Trever Miller to sweep up the sunflower seeds in the bullpen. That's gutsier than getting that shitty fauxhawk haircut and way gutsier than spending all his hard-earned cash on hipster foods like arugula and farmhouse cheddar.
Price combined a 96 MPH fastball with his wicked nasty slider to embarrass the bottom of the Sox lineup. With his repertoire of pitches and the fluid nature of Maddon's pen management, it's quite possible that Price will be called upon to close out games in the upcoming World Series. He's like the new version of 2002 World Series-era Francisco Rodriguez, except without that silly 'pointing-to-the-sky' routine. What's up there anyway, Frankie?!? A space shuttle?
Garza got the win last night and earned his ALCS MVP award. But it was David Price who shocked and awed the Sox in the eighth and ninth innings, sending them back to Boston without any fruit cup. Not bad for a Tennessee kid who grew up rooting for the Braves.