The Boston Red Sox loss last night adds even more pressure to David Price as they look to even the series against Cleveland. It’s time for Price to get it done.
The biggest start in David Price’s career just got even bigger. With the Boston Red Sox dropping Game One of the ALDS to Cleveland, all eyes will be on Price as Boston looks to even up the series. With the added pressure of being down in the series, the questions are starting to pop up in the heads of Sox fans. It’s time for Price to silence the critics.
The mega contract and whether or not any player is worth $30 million dollars per year has been discussed ad nauseam all season long. Some of the more cantankerous Boston fans are never going to let Price off the hook due to his price-tag, and he’s not going to back down from the fact that he’s being paid an enormous amount of money either. In fact, he’s embracing it. That’s exactly what he should be doing.
Price was 17-9 in 2016. That’s the fourth most wins of his career and the most losses. The most glaring difference in his stat line this season compared to other years would clearly be his ERA of 3.99. That’s the highest his ERA has been since his first full season in the Majors. His career ERA is 3.21. He also gave up the most home runs since he’s been in the Majors with thirty dingers in 2016. That’s concerning with the way the Indians are swinging the bats.
So what changed this season for Price? There are a variety of possibilities. It’s his first year in Boston – a new city and clearly the most attentive media contingent and fan base he has ever pitched in front of. The difficulty of pitching in the AL East is obviously not a valid excuse since Price has pitched most of his career in that division. Whatever it is, Price was still a very quality pitcher.
Take away the contract and the comparisons to his past, and Price had a very good season. But no matter what, it’s important for David to forget about all of that. None of that matters anymore. The slate is clean. It’s October baseball baby! Rick Porcello and the Sox losing last night doesn’t matter. Forget about not being named the Game One starter. It’s time for Price to forget about everything and pitch in the moment. Pitch like this is the biggest game he’s ever been a part of – because it is.
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He is 2-7 with a 5.12 ERA in the postseason over his career. Those two wins came in relief – he’s never won a postseason game that he started. Eight chances at his first playoff victory as a starting pitcher, and Price has whiffed. He’s lost three games to Texas when he was pitching for Tampa, once to Boston, once to Baltimore when he was with the Tigers and last season to the eventual World Series champions in the Royals while he was on the mound for the Blue Jays.
So why am I convinced that Price will turn in around later today in his first postseason start for Boston? One big reason is simply because of what I just stated – this is the first attempt with Boston. The best team he has played with by far. Sure, that Blue Jays team was decent, but they didn’t mash like these guys and didn’t have the chemistry that these guys have. They didn’t have the enigma that is David Ortiz in his last quest at championship greatness pushing them to the finish line. This Sox team seems to be special. They’ve performed in clutch moments. Keep it close and hopefully they can score some runs to get you an early lead.
David Price had 228 strikeouts this season. He is throwing strikes and getting hitters to miss. He needs to do that today. Be aggressive and throw strikes, but of course he needs to also be smart about his location because the Indians are clearly looking to jump on missed pitches in the zone.
I think it’s actually helpful that the game is on the road. Say what you want about what this means about his make-up, but it could be a big boost mentally for Price to not have to deal with the playoff atmosphere at Fenway just yet. If things ever got off to a rough start, Price could find himself in an infinite rut in front of Sox fans and it could get ugly. In Cleveland though, it may be a bit easier for him to get back on track.
Finally, Price is pitching against an Indians team that he’s had a nice chunk of success against. The whole team has had a total of 255 at-bats against him and is only hitting .235 with an OBP of .286. They’ve hit a total of three homeruns, fifteen doubles and a triple. Yes, there are some young guys that don’t have a big history against Price, but that can work in his favor as well.
This is a huge moment for David Price. He needs to get over the mental hurdle of his past postseason failures and just pitch to his best ability. We all know he has it in him, and honestly, he’s due. I believe that Price has it in him and will tie this series up as the team heads back to the friendly confines of Fenway Park. He has to.