By: Jake Perda
After watching Eduardo Rodriguez and Rick Porcello give up a combine 6 home runs over the last games, it was hard for Red Sox fans to be optimistic about David Price’s start on Saturday night. Nonetheless, Price took the mound with what seemed like a new attitude.
This was not the 2016 version of David Price who nibbled on the corners and repeatedly took deep breaths as he got lit up game after game by AL East opponents. This was a new David Price. One who pitched like he knew that he was the best player on the field. This likely contributed to the 7 inning gem that Price spun, holding Baltimore to 1 run on 3 hits. Backed by a big 3 RBI performance from Hanley Ramirez, Price was able to lead the Sox to a 5-2 victory and give them a chance to go for the series split on Sunday.
This was the first time in as long as I can remember that David Price didn’t look like a lost puppy on the mound. Instead of looking scared or rattled, he looked angry. In other words, he was pitching with a Chris Sale type of demeanor that I’m sure was influenced by the psychopath, Chris Sale, himself. This newfound attitude served Price extremely well on Saturday night in Baltimore as it allowed him to stay in attack mode all night long instead of constantly falling behind hitters. Price went 7 innings, while allowing just 1 run on 3 hits, and racking up 7 K’s. This went above and beyond anything that Red Sox fans could have hoped for considering that this was only Price’s second start after coming back from an elbow injury and 2 god awful rehab starts in Pawtucket. Consistent production from Price was be a gigantic boost to this team, especially as we watch Eduardo Rodriguez head to the 10-Day Disabled List with another mysterious knee injury.
Speaking of huge boosts to the team, Hanley Ramirez finally appeared to figure something out. Coming into Saturday night, Hanley had been homerless with just 2 RBI’s over his last 11 games. On Saturday, Hanley eclipsed both of those marks by going 2 for 3 with a homerun, a double, and 3 RBI’s. The problem with this offense, for the most part, has been the lack of power. The only team in Major League baseball with fewer home runs is the last place San Francisco Giants. Part of this is because of the way the team is constructed. When you look at the Sox lineup, you see a lot of line drive hitters, and it’s hard to point out any one guy who you can pencil in for 30 HR’s and 100 RBI’s. Hanley Ramirez needs to be that guy. He can hit the ball as hard as anyone in baseball, it’s just a matter of getting locked in like he was during the second half of the 2016 season. If he can build off his Saturday’s performance, things could get very very dangerous as we approach the halfway mark of the season.
It’s also worth mentioning that the seemingly impossible happened: Craig Kimbrel allowed a run in the 9th inning. Not only did he allow a run, but he also allowed multiple hits to right handed batters. This goes to show you, no matter how locked in you are, you’re bound to have an off game eventually. It happened to Chris Sale, it happened to Craig Kimbrel, and it’s going to continue to happen because that’s just how sports work. Regardless, Kimbrel was able to lock down yet another 4-out save and send the Red Sox fans home happy. He is now 16 for 17 in save opportunities on the season.
Chris Sale will take the mound on Sunday afternoon as the Sox attempt to force a series split with the O’s. After a subpar performance last time out in Chicago, you can expect Sale to be fired up. Although it is still too early to be scoreboard watching, you can’t ignore the fact that the Yankees just keep winning. That being said, the Sox can not allow themselves to fall too far behind in the standings. As intense as it would be to see Chris Sale pitch in a winner take all 1 game Wild Card play-in, I’d prefer to skip all of that and win the division. At this rate, the Sox are going to need every win they can get.