Rain gives Red Sox a chance to rest, regroup

Rain gives Red Sox a chance to rest, regroup

BOSTON -- Sunday's onslaught of rain, which postponed Game 3 of the American League Division Series until Monday (6 p.m. ET on TBS), looked just beautiful to the Red Sox.

Aside from the benefit of getting another day to regroup after losing the first two games in Cleveland, manager John Farrell now has the appetizing option of starting ace right-hander Rick Porcello on regular rest (four days) for Game 4.

Of course, Boston needs to create a Game 4 (Tuesday, 2 or 3 p.m. on TBS) first by staying alive on Monday.

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 6 CLE 5, BOS 4 video
Gm 2 Oct. 7 CLE 6, BOS 0 video
Gm 3 Oct. 10 CLE 4, BOS 3 video

"No negatives," manager John Farrell said about the rainout.

Having Porcello pitch a Game 4 would be the ultimate reward.

Porcello was dominant at home during his 22-4 season, going 13-1 with 2.97 ERA in 16 starts. The Red Sox were 15-1 in those games.

Nobody wants to get back to the mound more than Porcello, who had his shortest start of the season (4 1/3 innings) in the 5-4 loss in Game 1.

Eduardo Rodriguez, who had been slated to pitch Game 4 if the series had stayed on a normal schedule, was 0-4 with a 6.02 ERA in nine starts at Fenway this season.

Farrell hasn't announced his plans for Game 4 with the wrinkle of Sunday's rainout, but it seems obvious enough what he will do. The Indians were going to pitch Trevor Bauer on three days' rest for Game 4, now they'd have him back at full rest.

Is Mother Nature helping Tribe, or Sox?

If Game 3 starter Clay Buchholz and Porcello can extend the series to Game 5 in Cleveland on Wednesday, David Price would be on four days' rest with an opportunity to redeem himself after his disappointing performance in Game 2 (3 1/3 innings, 65 pitches).

Farrell on Price's tough outing

Meanwhile, Boston's bullpen should be stacked for the next couple of games, with Rodriguez and another stretched-out starter, Drew Pomeranz, available in relief.

"I've never been in the bullpen before, but I'll pitch anywhere," Rodriguez said. "If they want me to start or be a reliever, whatever, I'll do it."

Sunday's washout bought David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. another day to rediscover their strokes at the plate.

"We went through the toughest division in baseball. A lot of people feel like maybe our back is to the wall," said reliever Brad Ziegler. "We feel like we've been tested a little bit, but we've been tested all season long. We've responded well in September, and we can respond well now."

Having the postponement announced more than two hours before the scheduled first pitch was something the Red Sox appreciate.

"That was a good call, because we can get a day to rest and come ready tomorrow to play the game," said catcher Sandy Leon.

Considering that Boston played 19 of 29 games on the road in the final month of the season, and then the first two games of the postseason in Cleveland, an extra night at home was something to savor.

"Not that the hotel beds are uncomfortable or anything like that," said Ziegler. "There's something to be said for getting to hang out with your family and your pets. We've got guys with animals on this team, they go home and play with their dogs all evening. It's allows you to relax a little more as opposed to feeling cooped up in a hotel room."

And maybe -- just maybe -- those Indians will cool off.

"Maybe it gets Cleveland out of their rhythm a little bit," said Ziegler. "They were in a pretty good hitting rhythm for the first couple of games. Bottom line, for us, all of our guys get to hang out for a day with their family and another day to relax."

If the series goes the distance, the next three games will be played on consecutive days. Under the original schedule, there would have been a travel day between Games 4 and 5.

"It's easy to say that both bullpens will be well-rested," said Farrell. "But when you look at the potential of three consecutive games, you're always going to go based on two things at this point of the year: One, it's all hands on deck for us; and two, there might be a willingness to use guys a little bit more frequently because of the stakes that are being played for."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.