Up: David Price
Following an eight-run implosion in 3.1 innings against the Yankees on July 1, David Price was at a crossroads. Though his talent has never been in doubt, over the years he has garnered a reputation for disappearing in big games. Earlier in the season, some fans believed he used an injury to avoid facing New York. That awful start in early July gave credence to the conspiracy theorists, at least in their minds. Fair or not, after that start, Price had no choice but to prove himself once again.
Here’s the thing. He’s done that. Since the All-Star break, Price has been spectacular. He allowed just a single run in 14.1 innings across his final two July starts, and held the dreaded Yankees to two runs in six innings his last turn on the mound.
Yes, we need to see him perform that way consistently in big games, particularly in the playoffs. His dominant relief appearances in last year’s ALDS aren’t enough to prove he’s turned the corner as a postseason pitcher. However, the Red Sox are undeniably far better off with Price than they would be without him, and he’ll be integral to any success the Red Sox find in October.