Boston Red Sox: 3 Takeaways from the first win of the season

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: David Price
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: David Price /

Strong pitching from Price and Kimbrel leads the Boston Red Sox to their first victory.

Following a tough loss to start the 2018 season, the Boston Red Sox called upon David Price to deliver in his first start of the year, and deliver he did.

Game two of the four-game series saw Price put on a strong performance and hand the game to the bullpen with a one-run lead. Matt Barnes would come in and he had a strong eighth inning before handing over the ninth to closer Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel would be lights out and close out the game for the Red Sox. Giving them their first win of the season.

Here are my takeaways from the strong win:

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David Price continues to turn heads

Being a member of the Boston Red Sox has not been easy for David Price.

He started off with a fairly tumultuous and injury-riddled season before he called out Dennis Eckersley last season. After this, he was sent to the bullpen for the rest of the year and Price pitched lights out. In last years playoff series with the Astros, Price was easily the Red Sox best player, primarily doing work in the long relief.

Yesterday, Price turned back the clock against his former team and continued his strong stretch of play.

Price pitched 7 shutout innings while only letting up 4 hits, and striking out 5. The strikeout numbers are a little low, especially for a guy who has been in the top 5 in strikeouts the past 3 seasons. However, this is still a very promising start for Price. Yes, I’m aware the opponent isn’t great, but it’s important to have a strong start to the season, especially if you’re Price.
Many have him as a potential dark horse Cy Young winner, but I think it’s more likely he will receive comeback player of the year honors.

Consistency will be the question, but Price looks poised to shut out the media this year and fully make it up to the fans. His next start is shaping up to be next Thursday at home against this same Rays team. Price has a lot to live up to, as does anyone who plays for a Boston club.

Craig Kimbrel puts aside any doubts

Craig Kimbrel left the Red Sox back during Spring Training on March 11th to be with his daughter for her second of three heart surgeries.

He came back to the team and didn’t miss a beat.

Kimbrel came on in the ninth with a one run lead to try and close out the game, and give the Red Sox their first victory of the season. He would come in and absolutely dominate all three batters he faced, sitting all of them down with a strikeout and picking up his first save of the season.

For Kimbrel’s first inning pitched all year, he looked right at home and in total control of his game. His four-seamer was on point as he continuously was throwing in the 98 MPH range. The knuckle curveball looked sharp and only found its way out of Christian Vasquez glove on one occasion. Kimbrel is entering perhaps the most important year of his Red Sox career. He turns 30 in May and this is his final year under contract.

Without a doubt, the Red Sox will have the capital to pay him, but at what cost? Will he take a discount? Will he want to be paid in the company of Kenley Jansen? Will he test the market?

JD and others bats stay quiet

This might be nitpicking, but in two games with the Red Sox, JD Martinez has yet to compile a hit. He has six at-bats, half of them are strikeouts. He has however walked twice and scored.

I’m sure this won’t be a problem for long and he’ll eventually contribute on a larger scale, but it’s tough to see when Giancarlo Stanton is smashing home runs for the Yankees in his debut.

Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr have yet to get a hit as well. Ironically all of these guys are natural outfielders. “Benny” and Bradley haven’t been on base yet this season. It’s worrisome, but the panic button isn’t even in sight yet. The two should have better chances tomorrow as the Rays will send out lefty Andrew Kittredge to the mound.

Whats next?

The third game of a four-game set with the Rays down in St. Petersburg, as Rick Porcello takes on Kittredge.

Next: When the Price is right

Friday night was a big first win for a young club with a first-year skipper following a tough defeat the day before, they’ll look to replicate the winning formula again.