Red Sox: Run support salvaging David Price’s season

Apr 16, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price (24) pitches during the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 16, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price (24) pitches during the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

Boston Red Sox ace David Price remains undefeated despite his poor production this season.

Run support can be one of the more fickle aspects of baseball. A pitcher can do his job on the mound by delivering quality starts every five days, but his record may not reflect that performance if his offense isn’t carrying their own weight. Likewise, pitchers can be rewarded with an undeserved win after getting roughed up, as long as their offense out-slugs the other team.

Take David Price for example. The new ace of the Boston Red Sox remains undefeated at 4-0 this season, but his unblemished record overshadows an otherwise brutal beginning to his tenure with the team.

Following his latest implosion against the New York Yankees Sunday night, Price carries an unsightly 6.14 ERA that ranks 47th out of 50 qualified starters in the American League.  A Yankees lineup that has underachieved all season hammered him for 6 earned runs, yet Price still “earned” the win thanks to Christian Vazquez hitting a moonshot off of Dellin Betances in the bottom of the 7th inning to give the Red Sox the lead prior to Price being relieved by his bullpen to begin the next inning.

This has been par for the course for Price this season, who has alternated great starts with awful ones. In three of his outings he has lasted at least 6 innings, giving up 2 runs in each of them and earning a win. In his other three outings, Price has been roughed up for 5+ runs, yet still escaped without a loss. Prior to Sunday’s win, the Red Sox had gone on to lose each of Price’s previous poor starts, with the loss being pinned on the bullpen on each occasion.

More from Red Sox News

The reason he has managed to avoid a loss comes back to run support. Boston’s offense has managed to keep the team in the game long enough for Price to end up with a no decision in two outings where he gave up a combined 13 runs over 8.2 innings. The Red Sox lead the league in runs scored, but no pitcher has benefited more from that than Price, who has received the league’s top run support with 7.33 runs per game.

Compare that to Steven Wright, who ranks second in the league with a stellar 1.37 ERA. Despite having the same lineup supporting him, Wright carries a 2-2 record through four starts. He has received a respectable 4.50 runs per game from his offense, but was a tough-luck loser in each of his first two starts this season, one of which the Red Sox were shut out in. Wright has given up 2 earned runs or less in all four of his starts, yet has a mere .500 record to show for it.

Price’s start to the season has been troubling, but can you imagine the uproar if he had a 3-3 record instead of 4-0? Or if the Red Sox weren’t sitting at the top of the AL East? Price’s Jekyll and Hyde routine has been a disappointment, but thus far it hasn’t really hurt the team.

More from BoSox Injection

His track record suggests that Price will eventually get back on track to deliver a steady stream of consistent performances. When the team is paying you about $1 million per start you would hope that every outing would be dominant, but that’s an unrealistic expectation for any pitcher.

A few bad outings won’t carry nearly as much weight the deeper we get into the season, so Price’s bloated numbers are bound to improve. There will be times when the Red Sox offense is sputtering and they’ll need their ace to step up and carry the team to victory, but right now it’s the lineup shouldering the load.

Next: Porcello can beat up on bad teams

The Red Sox are in first place despite the struggles of their ace. The knowledge that Price will inevitably improve, while still receiving the support of one of the best offenses in baseball, is what keeps opponents up at night.