Following a shaky first couple season, can David Price pitch his way into the hearts of Boston Red Sox fans?
David Price has always been in the spotlight in his days in Boston. Ever since he signed a 7-year $207 million dollar deal to sign with the Boston Red Sox during the 2016 Winter Meetings, he’s been under the close spotlight of pundits and the avid Boston fan base.
Price started off his Red Sox career on a rather rough note, as the ace fans expected threw together an 8-6 record with a 4.64 ERA in the first half of the season. Price had dug himself in a hole that some would say he hasn’t come out of even today.
The second half of the 2016 season was remarkably different however, as Price would finish the season posting a 17-9 with a 3.99 ERA. He ended up leading the American League in innings pitched with 230.
Fans expected Price to come out of the gate gunning in his debut season with the team, but he struggled to adapt to the culture that comes with playing in the city of Boston.
The 2016 postseason was even worse for Price. He would start Game 1 of the 2016 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians and got absolutely shelled. Price gave up five earned runs on 6 hits while only lasting 3.1 innings.
Can past postseason failure lead to success in 2017?
David Price has a long history in the postseason, one that is riddled with poor starts.
On his career, Price is 1-8 in the postseason with a treacherous 5.54ERA. He has given up 68 hits in 66 innings in those games. His struggles in the postseason last season helped contribute to the team getting swept by the Cleveland Indians.
In his second season with the Boston Red Sox, Price came in with a cloud of doubt surrounding the health of his elbow. With rumors that he would need Tommy John surgery, Price visited Dr. James Andrews who confirmed he would not need surgery. But that didn’t stop his season from being delayed.
In fact, the left-handed pitcher wouldn’t make his first start of the season until May 29. Following a few up and down starts, including an impressive outing against the New York Yankees, Price landed back on the Disabled List on July 28 after making 11 starts.
David Price vs. the Boston media
Daivd Price has always been doubted by fans because he has a very poor attitude and his inability to cope well with pressure. This was on display late season when it was reported that Price got into a verbal altercation with Hall of Famer and Red Sox Color Commentator Dennis Eckersley on the teams plane.
Eckersley, known for his “tell it like it is” attitude, criticized a poor performance by teammate Eduardo Rodriguez. This pushed Price into confronting Eckersley shouting, ¨Here he is, the greatest pitcher who ever lived! This game is easy for him!”
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According to various reports at the time, he repeatedly yelled, ¨Get the f*** outta here!” at Eckersley.
David Price then refused to apologize, further stirring up the Boston media. Needless to say, it was a moment that put his future in a Red Sox uniform in doubt.
A new role, a new attitude?
After things died down, David Price made his way back to the team a month later on September 14 as a reliever in the bullpen. The $207 million dollar man had found himself in a role he hadn’t been in since his rookie year with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008.
Since finding his way in the bullpen, Price has adapted well in his new role with the team. In his five bullpen appearances, Price has put in 8.2 innings of relief, giving up only 3 hits with no earned runs and 13 strikeouts.
Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell believed that Price would work better in a multi-inning role for the rest of the season and into the playoffs. With prior success pitching relief in the playoffs, Price offers a great change of pace for the Red Sox out of the pen. He has the ability to log long innings, giving the team a Andrew Miller type weapon.
In all, if David Price continues dominance out of the bullpen, he could become the secret weapon the Red Sox need for playoff success. That, for Price and Red Sox nation, will be the ultimate road towards redemption.