LOS ANGELES — If Mookie Betts doesn’t start at second base in World Series Game 3 on Friday night, it won’t be a result of manager Red Sox Alex Cora playing it safe. Rather, it’ll be a consequence of a J.D. Martinez stumble.
The Red Sox’s regular designated hitter rolled his right ankle in Tuesday night’s Game 1 when he slipped while rounding second base on a triple-turned-double, and therefore he might not be up to starting in right field in this contest held under National League rules. If Martinez doesn’t start, then Betts — who originally played second base as a professional — would stick in his usual right-field slot.
“We’ll see. He felt better today walking around,” Cora said Thursday at a Dodger Stadium news conference. “He got treatment on the way here. He’ll get treatment tonight. He’ll get treatment tomorrow morning and tomorrow afternoon and then we’ll make a decision.
“It looked bad early in [Game 2 on Wednesday], but then it seemed like he was moving better toward the end. We’ll make a decision.”
Red Sox Game 3 starting pitcher Rick Porcello said he found out about his assignment at the end of Game 2.
While the 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner had been preparing to start either Game 3 or Game 4 on Saturday night, his day became definitive when Cora went to former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi for a second straight night out of the bullpen in Game 2. Eovaldi started one game in each of the first two rounds and remains the logical candidate to start Game 4.
Porcello, who has pitched twice out of the bullpen himself this postseason, said such a workload — routinely throwing relief outings between starts — wouldn’t float during the regular season, as it would represent too much of a physical strain on the pitchers.
Dodgers Game 3 starting pitcher Walker Buehler flew home from Boston on Wednesday night and was in the air for the entire time as his team lost Game 2. He behaved himself on the flight as he followed the game action on the internet, the rookie said.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that lefty-swinging Joc Pederson will lead off Game 3 against Porcello. Righty bat Brian Dozier led off the first two games against Red Sox lefty starters Chris Sale and David Price and went 0-for-4 with two walks.