Here are three quick takeaways from the Red Sox' Game 3 victory over the Astros. . .
1. Above all else, there was one thing that needed to happen for the Red Sox to be successful this postseason: the bullpen needed to step up. Relievers who had been dominant at points in the regular season needed to limit their walks and use their stuff to the best of their ability. It's happened. Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly have been more than stable.
Brasier (5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER), Barnes (5.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER), and Kelly (4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER) have combined to allow no extra-base hits and no earned runs in 15 innings, holding opponents to just four hits in 50 at-bats (.080 AVG). Throw Heath Hembree into the mix and that's a 0.00 ERA over 18.2 innings from a quarter of relievers.
2. Nate Eovaldi's been a Godsend. The righty is making a huge impression on the biggest stage and likely setting himself up for a lucrative payday in free agency. The Houston native limited the damage in the first inning and settled in to allow two runs over six innings, letting Alex Cora hold off on going to the bullpen until the seventh inning.
Following his dominant start in the Bronx last week, Eovaldi has allowed three runs in 13 innings this postseason (2.08 ERA) and he's just the fourth pitcher in Red Sox history to throw 6+ innings and allow two runs or fewer in each of his first two postseason games.
3. The past doesn't control the future, but history shows that the winner of Game 3 means a lot. The 2018 ALCS was the 22nd that was tied at 1-1 after two games. In the previous 21, the team that won Game 3 went on to win the series 16 times. That's 76 percent. The last time an ALCS was tied at 1 heading into Game 3, coincidentally, was 2013, when the Red Sox defeated Detroit 1-0. The Sox, of course, advanced and won the World Series.