David Price is the ace of the Boston Red Sox, whether you like it or not. Oh, and he’s not afraid of the Yankees or October baseball.
It was July 1, 2018, and the Boston Red Sox had a slim one-game lead over the New York Yankees in the AL East. It was a Sunday night baseball game, but this wasn’t just any other Sunday night baseball game. It was Red Sox vs. Yankees.
The Yankees were home in the Bronx, and if they won, they would be all knotted up with Boston atop the division. This was the first year in a long while that these two rival teams were good at the same time, so every game between the two was a big deal. Yankees ace Luis Severino would take the mound for New York, and unfortunately for Boston, David Price would toe the rubber.
Now, you may question why that is necessarily a negative thing, as Price is one of the premier pitchers in the game of baseball. Although that is true, Price’s struggles against the Yankees in his career are no secret, along with his postseason struggles, but we’ll get to that later.
His struggles would only worsen that Sunday night, giving up 8 runs on 9 hits with 5 of those hits coming via the long ball. That’s right, he gave up FIVE home runs that night. Not what ya want.
His next start was almost as bad, as he’d give up 4 runs on 6 hits while walking one and hitting 3. This was also against an incredibly weak Royals team, mind you. Yikes.
Price’s career ERA in Boston was now over 4.00, and when you looked back at his overall tenure in a Red Sox uniform up until that point, it was underwhelming, to say the least. I’ll admit I was disappointed in him, but I will also say that I never gave up on him and always believed that he could redeem himself, and boy did he ever.
It all started later that month, July 12, to be exact. I was at that game, and boy was it a memorable experience. That was the very game when Mookie worked a 13 pitch at-bat, capping it off with a grand slam onto Landsdown street. Many call that the greatest and most iconic moment for the Red Sox in 2018, and it’s hard to disagree with that.
What gets lost in the shuffle, however, is that July 12 was also the night when Price became the certified ace of the Red Sox. Price would go 6 2/3 innings while allowing 3 runs and striking out 8.
His next start, which took place in Detroit right after the All-Star break, was even better, as he’d go 6 1/3 innings, allowing 0 runs and striking out 5. His dominance wouldn’t stop, as he would throw 68 innings in the second half of the season, striking out 68 hitters, pitching to an ERA of 2.25 and finishing the regular season with a solid 3.58 ERA.
While he was successful in the second half of 2018, that was just the regular season. What would happen once the postseason rolled around?
It looked like another usual year for Price, as he would once again struggle in the playoffs. It would be right out of the gate, and what made it even worse was that it came against the Yankees. Thankfully, the Red Sox would make quick work of New York that series, winning in 4 and moving on to face Houston.
Price would start Game 2 with the Sox down 1-0 in the ALCS against the defending champion Astros. He would struggle yet again, giving up 4 runs in only 4 2/3 innings, not even being able to qualify for a win.
Boston would go on to win not only Game 2 however, but Games 3 and 4, taking a 3-1 series lead into Game 5 in Houston. Who would take the mound for the Red Sox? None other than Price, who had still yet to get a postseason win in his entire career. So, of course, that means he’d take on Justin Verlander, one of the more historic postseason pitchers of all time, with a career 3.19 ERA in October to go along with 13 wins.
So it’s clear who must have won that game, right? Nope. Price would go 6 innings, giving up no runs and striking out 9 Astros hitters. Verlander, on the other hand, would give up 4 runs on 2 bombs by J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers. Price would get his first postseason win and the Red Sox were moving on to the World Series.
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He wasn’t done yet, however, going 6 innings and allowing 2 runs to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then, for the most poetic thing of all time, Price would get to start the World Series-clinching game in LA. He would go 7 innings, giving up only one run, and striking out 5. Price earned the win, his 3rd straight postseason victory, and the Boston Red Sox were World Series champions. Without Price, the Red Sox don’t hoist that trophy in 2018 and they wouldn’t have a shot to repeat in 2019.
Following his Fortnite fix in the offseason, Price would arrive in Spring Training as a World Champion. Skip ahead to now, where we’re in June. The big lefty has far and away been the best/most consistent starter in the Red Sox rotation. Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Rick Porcello have all been better recently but have been incredibly inconsistent, and Nathan Eovaldi has been on the shelf for most of the year but will be returning soon.
I’m not too worried about the rotation as a whole, as they are too talented to continue their inconsistency. But I’m here to talk about the ace of the Red Sox. Price has been an absolute horse for the Red Sox over the last year. He’s finally doing exactly what we paid him to do. He showed flashes of it in 2016 and 2017, but it’s all finally coming together now.
On Sunday night, Boston was on the verge of getting swept in the Bronx. Entering the game, Price’s numbers at Yankee Stadium as a member of the Red Sox weren’t pretty with a 7.71 ERA in 58 1/3 innings. Price didn’t care about that, going 6 1/3 strong innings, giving up only a couple of runs while striking out 6.
In a 9 month span, Price has proved to the world that he can pitch well in the postseason and against the Yankees. He can also kick some butt in Fortnite, but that’s a whole different conversation.
The bottom line is that right now, Price is the ace of this 2019 Red Sox rotation, and has been since July of last year. He’s been worth every penny of his contract thus far and I couldn’t be happier that this man is in a Red Sox uniform.