Yankee Stadium has been a house of horrors for David Price but the lefty delivered a strong performance in a must-win game for the Boston Red Sox.
David Price vanquished his postseason demons last October by thriving on baseball’s brightest stage yet one hurdle remained that he’d been unable to overcome since joining the Boston Red Sox – winning in Yankee Stadium.
Pitching in the Bronx wasn’t always a problem for Price, who has spent most of his career in the AL East. He actually owns a winning record (9-8) in Yankee Stadium with an ERA that was far more appealing before he came to Boston. It’s different when you’re pitching under the pressure of baseball’s fiercest rivalry.
The Yankees have been a thorn in his side since Price signed with the Red Sox in 2016. Heading into Sunday’s outing, Price was 2-7 with a 7.71 ERA and 6.1 K/9 against the Yankees during his tenure in Boston.
The results were even more horrific when venturing into enemy territory. Price was 0-6 with a 9.79 ERA and 4.7 K/9 when pitching in Yankee Stadium since donning a Red Sox uniform.
The narrative that Price couldn’t beat the Yankees on their home turf lingered over him heading into Sunday night, a game the Red Sox absolutely had to win in order to avoid a humiliating sweep. A loss would have dropped Boston 10.5 games behind the division-leading Yankees, a deficit that appears almost insurmountable. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there has only been one case in franchise history where the Red Sox have fallen 10+ games back only to rally back to win the division (1988).
There’s no understating the importance of this game or how desperately the Red Sox needed Price to step up. As he seems to have been all season, Price was up for the challenge.
The lefty held the Yankees to two runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings to earn the victory. He struck out six while only walking one.
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The first sign of trouble came in the fourth inning when Luke Voit blasted a solo shot to left center with one out to put the Yankees on the board. The home run appeared to rattle Price, as he immediately gave up three consecutive singles to load the bases. An encouraging start appeared to be unraveling before our eyes, which had, unfortunately, become commonplace whenever Price took the mound in this stadium. “Here we go again,” grumbled Red Sox Nation.
Price managed to escape the jam with a sac fly delivering the only further damage. Aaron Hicks helped him out with an ill-advised attempt to steal home, ending the threat with a 3-2 lead intact.
The Yankees tried to rally again in the seventh when Price allowed a pair of singles before getting the hook with one out. Heath Hembree retired the next two batters to prevent the inning from getting out of hand.
It wasn’t quite a dominant performance by Price, with a couple of hiccups along the way where the game could have gotten away from him. It proved to be enough though, which is a significant step for Price given his history pitching in Yankee Stadium.
Price earned his first win in the Bronx as a member of the Red Sox and did so under the intense pressure of a potentially season-saving performance. One solid outing against an injury-depleted Yankees lineup doesn’t erase the past but it serves as a much-needed confidence boost for Price.