Boston Red Sox: David Price takes on social media critics

Aug 22, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price (24) smiles in the dugout at the end of the eighth inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 22, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price (24) smiles in the dugout at the end of the eighth inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Boston Red Sox starter David Price has been having a bit of fun on social media with fans that won’t let him forget he hasn’t won a playoff game.

David Price is one of the more active members of the Boston Red Sox on social media, often tweeting about interests such as football, the various charities he’s involved with and, of course, his dog Astro.

The veteran lefty has never been shy about interacting with fans on Twitter, but over the past few weeks we’ve seen a trend of Price reacting to a particular topic – his postseason record.

It’s been well documented that Price has yet to record a victory in a postseason start. He has earned a pair of wins out of the bullpen, most notably against the Red Sox in the 2008 ALCS when he first made a name for himself as a 22-year old for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Since then Price has developed into a 7-time All-Star, a Cy Young winner and established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball. His impressive accolades led to the Red Sox lavishing him with a lucrative contract last winter, which came with the burden of carrying a once maligned rotation to the promised land.

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Boston’s rotation was drastically improved in 2016, but Price wasn’t the one to turn things around. He had a bit of a down season, at least by his lofty standards, while All-Star Steven Wright and Cy Young winner Rick Porcello pushed the Red Sox rotation toward the upper tier of the American League.

When the postseason rolled around we witnessed the one flaw on his resume first hand. Price was shelled for five earned runs over 3 1/3 innings in his lone start against the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS, dropping his career record in the postseason to 0-8.

Price has yet to claim that elusive win as a starter in the postseason, a fact Red Sox fans haven’t let him forget. In the wake of his latest failed attempt he was slammed by critics on Twitter, to which Price fired back with a passive aggressive response oozing in sarcasm.

You can sense a tinge of annoyance from his response, which could be perceived as mocking the fans that are upset with him for not meeting their high expectations. Price is well aware of his winless track record. He hears his critics, but he’s showing that he’s not going to let them bother him.

Price has turned to self deprecating humor to deflect the negativity being spewed in his direction. It’s not that he doesn’t care. Nobody is more upset about David Price’s lack of postseason success than David Price. However, he’s not going to allow a few bad starts to shatter his confidence. He remains a talented pitcher with an overpowering repertoire that allows him to dominate any time he takes the mound.

With his focus turned to preparing for the 2017 season, it’s a good sign that he’s able to show a sense of humor rather than sulking over his struggles. It shows us that he remains confident in his ability to bounce back next season to be the pitcher the Red Sox thought they were signing.

Following a slow start as he adjusted to a new team, Price recaptured the form that made him an ace. The season didn’t end well, but we can’t throw away the progress he made based on one start – especially when it came against a Cleveland lineup that was dominant in their own ballpark all season.

Price has had some rocky outings on the game’s biggest stage, but the notion that he can’t perform in the postseason is absurd. He has four quality starts where he pitched well enough to win, but his offense failed to provide sufficient run support. One of those was an 8 inning effort in which he only allowed two earned runs. Are we really going to put that loss on Price? His postseason track record hasn’t matched his impressive regular season resume, but looking at overall numbers and concluding that he’s incapable of pitching well in the playoffs is an irresponsible analysis.

Some may view Price’s tweets as mocking the passion of Red Sox fans, but I don’t see it that way. It’s merely a small percentage of fans trolling Price on social media, which isn’t a reflection of Red Sox Nation as a whole.

The offseason gives Price a chance to escape the negativity, allowing him to recharge and refocus. He’s had a taste of the intense pressure of pitching in Boston, which may at times bother him, but it won’t break him.

Price strikes me as a pretty laid back guy that doesn’t have a lot of experience dealing with a harsh reaction for his team’s fan base. Part of that is because he had never pitched in Boston, where it’s championship or bust every year, but he’s also rarely struggled as much on the mound as he did this season.

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He’s dealing with those critics in his own way, refusing to let the negativity bring him down. Price’s way of coping is to laugh along with those critics, but it’s he who will have the last laugh when he returns to the elite group of starters next season.