Since returning from the injured list on May 20 against the Toronto Blue Jays, David Price has been nothing shy of phenomenal. Across three May starts following his removal from the list, including an abbreviated outing against the Houston Astros due to an illness, Price pitched 11.2 innings and surrendered not a single earned run. In that same span Price’s excellent command has been on full display, as he struck out 11 batters while walking just one.
With Price back and at the height of his powers, the Red Sox finally have a truly reliable option behind Chris Sale. Eduardo Rodriguez has disappointed after a promising offseason, and Rick Porcello remains wildly inconsistent. The 2016 Cy Young winner still allows too many home runs to function as a true No. 2 starter. The Red Sox pitching staff, when healthy, is the team’s advantage over the rest of the division. The second punch that Price represents following the Sale hay-maker makes the rotation formidable again.
Once Eovaldi returns, the rotation will be at full strength again and the Red Sox will likely start making up ground in bunches. However, of the two, Price is the more important piece. On any other staff, he would clearly be the ace. He’s a workhorse who can usually be counted on to give the bullpen a rest, while at the same time giving the Red Sox a chance to win each game he starts. Over a long season, a pitcher like Price, who can take the load off the rest of the team, is a vital and invaluable piece.