Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price may have lost the battle to the San Francisco Giants, but he pitched well against MLB stud Madison Bumgarner.
There’s something to be said for a performance that had everything to go against it before it started. The Red Sox were in San Francisco as the away team, with the Giants’ home crowd as loud as ever. Boston’s ace starter posted a 0-1 record in his last two appearances coming into the matchup against Bumgarner, who allowed only a single run in his last two appearances. Add into the mix that Bumgarner has hit enough home runs at the plate, since he is a National League pitcher, that he is potentially being added to the Home Run Derby this year, making the comparison between these two lefties pretty tough on Price.
However, they both get paid for their past dominance as pitchers, and neither man disappointed.
It took two home runs for Price to lose last night’s game for the Red Sox, but the outs he recorded in between were the real story of his night. Price pitched eight innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts. Out of 107 pitches, Price threw 71 for strikes. He also induced eight groundballs to four flyouts. Bumgarner lasted six innings, allowing a run on four hits, a walk, and five strikeouts. The Giants’ powerhouse pitcher induced only four groundballs to two flyouts on 101 pitches.
Based on those numbers, in an unfriendly environment and a ton of pressure lately on Red Sox pitchers, Price was actually better than Bumgarner last night. That is, if it wasn’t for the second home run. If Price’s night would have ended one inning earlier, and had the bullpen come into the game for him, he may never have had to take the loss.
That eventuality isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault, per se; however, it was Price who did give up the winning run. Red Sox manager John Farrell may be allowed off of the hook, if one was so inclined, because of the pitch count. While Bumgarner hit over 100 pitches in the sixth, Price was cruising by making quick work of the Giants’ hitters well into the eighth inning before he threw 100. It took five relievers for the Giants to finish the game, and Bumgarner wasn’t even the pitcher on record for the victory.
It took Brandon Belt to hit a 77-mph knuckle curve over the fence in the bottom of the fourth inning to merely tie the game, after Chris Young drilled a homer off of Bumgarner in the top of the same inning. Until the bottom of the eighth, it didn’t look like the Giants were going to score another run, or even another hit, off of Price.
Finally, Mac Williamson, a rookie, hit the first pitch Price gave him, in that fateful eighth inning. An 84-mph cutter got smashed over the left field fence, but it was only the leadoff batter of the inning and not the end of Price’s night. He made quick work of the next three Giants sluggers, still looking strong.
Price simply did not get the run support to get a chance to complete the game in the ninth inning. He looked great against the N.L. West division leaders, and took the loss with eight solid innings of work. He has a 4.63 ERA for the season, but Price has allowed only two runs for each of his last three starts. None of those performances ended up with wins for the Red Sox starter, begging Red Sox Nation to take note of the lack of help Price has had from the bats, as of late. Without a balance between offense and defense, the Red Sox cannot be expected to reclaim the American League East division lead.
The silver lining, if you are willing to accept one, is that Price pitched well, if not better, than arguably the biggest stud in the majors. If the Red Sox and the Giants met each other in the World Series, Price and the Red Sox should feel confident that he could go toe-to-toe against Bumgarner.