I really wanted to be positive about David Price this season. Things seemed to be looking up for the southpaw starter. He had an injury plagued 2017, but came back late in the season to bolster the bullpen and help the Red Sox win their first playoff game since Game 6 of the 2013 World Series. In that contest he worked four scoreless innings of middle relief, striking out four and walking one as the Red Sox defeated the Astros 10-3. It would be their only playoff win. This year, with a (so far) healthy elbow, Price started the season gangbusters, but has faltered a bit since.
In his first two starts of the year, both against the Rays, Price pitched lights out. In both games, he went seven full, giving up 4 hits and 3 hits respectively, with a 0.00 ERA and 10 Ks. Can’t argue with those stats. Price looked strong. Then came a bit of worry. In his first outing of the year against the New York Yankees, Astro’s Dad (sigh...worst nickname EVER) pitched one inning giving up 4 runs on 3 hits and a walk, and surrendered a moon shot to Gary Sanchez. More distressingly, he left the game with numbness in his pitching hand. Now I don’t mean to startle you, but the internet overreacted a bit about his exit. I was reading stuff from MLB writers saying that this pitcher and that pitcher had felt the same sensations in their hand and they needed Tommy John Surgery soon after. But Price was evaluated, and it was determined that he was fine. It was an isolated incident and he would make his next start (more on this in a moment). He beat the Angels in Anaheim the following week, but in his next two starts, Price would lose both games, pitching into the eighth inning against the A’s two weekends ago before surrendering a three run homer to Khris Davis, and getting his doors blown off against the very same Rays this past Saturday going 5.2 innings, giving up 6 hits, 3 earned runs, and walking two. He gave up an inside the park homer, and then a more traditional over the fence one for good measure.
Here’s the thing about Price...It doesn’t bother me when he loses, per se. I mean, I hate to EVER see the Red Sox lose, but even good teams are going to lose 70 plus games a year. In 2010 Felix Hernandez won the Cy Young award and had 12 losses. It’s just the aura and drama that seems to unfold around every Price setback. He lacks something. Something that I can’t put into words myself. Perhaps I can elaborate using someone else’s words…
It just seems like every time Price fails, I roll my eyes. Most of the time, it’s involuntary. It’s just my reaction to his reactions, or comments about his performances. Other times, it’s the circumstances surrounding Price’s outings. Allow me to explain, using just this season as a barometer. I could go on for days and days about Price’s spats with the media, “Manager John”, Dennis Eckersley, or the Fenway faithful, from his three seasons in Boston, but I just want to focus on this year, starting with his outing against the Yankees.
I think we can all pretty much agree that David Price’s hands were cold that day. It was in the 30’s that night. There was a wind. It was chilly, and baseball was not meant to be played in the cold. The players were all wearing balaclavas for God’s sake.
I get it. But I mean, Price didn’t come out for the second inning. If it was his call to sit down, I would argue maybe try to power through it? Maybe as the game continues the blood will flow a bit more? Maybe try warming up your hands in the clubhouse. You’re supposed to be an ace. Cold fingers? To compound things, Chris Sale went out on the mound four games later and pitched in one of the coldest games ever played at Fenway. Sale said it was the coldest he ever played in, and he played for the White Sox in Chicago. Sale went 5 innings and gave up one run on two hits.
OK...so here’s the drama I was talking about. Price was supposed to pitch the next game after Sale, Patriot’s Day at Fenway Park, one of the most festive, emotional days on the Sox' calendar. Price was scratched from that start, and was bumped to the next night against the Angels...who play in Southern California where the West Coast has the sunshine and the girls all get so tan. The point is a bit moot because the Marathon Monday game got rained out, but if you’re Price, or the Red Sox, wouldn’t you want to see how Price’s hand would react to another start in chilly weather, just to test it out? I mean, do we have a guy who can pitch in the cold, or does everything have to be “just so” for Price to perform? Did Price not start because he was afraid to get booed by his home crowd for exiting the Yankees game with frosty fingertips? I think it’s a valid question.
In his next start in sunny Cali, Price dominated the Angels.
Fast forward to the aforementioned Oakland game. Now, I’ll be honest. Price’s eighth inning meltdown was kind of not his fault. He was over 100 pitches, and was facing four righties in a row. Cora let him pitch. With one out, Price surrender two hits to righties and Cora left him in to eventually give up the bomb to Davis. But for a guy who is supposed to be your 30 million dollar a year ace, it stings a bit when he can’t get out of that inning after retiring the first batter. I don’t usually like to play the salary card, but THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS!!!
Lastly, and maybe someone out there can give me a hand trying to figure this one out because I looked everywhere on the internet to try to uncover a reason for this one. Friday night against the Rays, Price was supposed to pitch. It was his turn in the rotation. But he was swapped with Drew Pomeranz, who made his second start of the season since being on the DL with forearm tightness. Did Price not pitch on Friday night to set him up for the warmer climes of a 4:00 afternoon game where the temperature was in the high 60’s? Did a seemingly “healthy” pitcher get bumped up a day so that the guy coming off an actual DL stint had to pitch in temperatures in the upper 40's on Friday? CAN DAVID PRICE PLAY IN THE COLD, AND IF NOT WHAT THE ABSOLUTE HELL????
I can’t chill Mr. Freeze. Because it’s just ALWAYS SOMETHING with Price. PS...the Rays rocked him on Saturday, so it had nothing to do with the weather. In order for him to get the ball every fifth day, it seems like everyone has to accommodate his little idiosyncrasies. And that my friends is what we call being a diva. I want to like you David. But it’s just so damn hard to.
Sox are 5-5 in their last 10 games folks. The rocket ship has come back to earth.
Photo: Boston Herald, memegenerator, Boston Globe
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