Red Sox thoughts & reactions: When David Price is right, he’s dominant

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MARCH 30: Pitcher David Price
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MARCH 30: Pitcher David Price /

If the Boston Red Sox get the David Price who dominated the mound Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays, watch out MLB!

Take away a disastrous eighth inning on Thursday afternoon and the Boston Red Sox would be sitting pretty behind the pitching dominance of their top two pitchers.

On Friday, a fully healthy and mentally focused David Price topped Chris Sale’s Opening Day performance with a 1-0 shutout victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

In all forms, this was the $217 million pitcher the team and fans envisioned when he signed the record-breaking contract in 2016.  Following a just above average debut season with the team followed by an injury-plagued second season mixed with drama, Price said he was “mad at the world” and he took it out on his former team.

Boy, did he ever.

Price stepped on that Tropicana Field mound and immediately mowed down the Rays.  With a nice mix of pitches, the veteran lefty tossed seven scoreless innings on 76 pitches.  He threw two-seamers and cutters mixed with a live fastball that kept Rays batters off balance.

While the Red Sox own batters were silent, David Price made sure the one run they did score was enough for the Boston Red Sox first win of the season.

"“I’ve done this for a long time,” Price said following the game, via the Boston Herald.  “I like to think I know how to pitch.  So that was what I did tonight.”"

He certainly did pitch.  In fact, he gave us a lesson in how to pitch and how not to doubt his skillset and potential on the mound.

Sale and Price set the tone

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Despite a no decision on Opening Day, Chris Sale’s performance combined with what David Price did Friday night is exactly what the Red Sox need.

When both of those pitchers are healthy and on the top of their game, the Sox will have the type of 1-2 tandem that could carry them very, very far.  They also take some pressure off the rest of the rotation.

With Rick Porcello aiming for a redemption year after a double-digit loss 2017 and Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz eventually returning at full health, Price knows if they are just good, it will be a special year.

"“If all five of our starters can have, not even great years, just have good years,” Price said.  “I think we can do something really special.”"

And…about Craig Kimbrel

Alex Cora certainly took a little heat in not using Craig Kimbrel in Thursday’s game.

That, however, was quickly forgotten on Friday night.

The closer entered the game in the ninth inning and overpowered all three batters he faced with three strikeouts.  Not only did he record his first save, he sealed David Price’s shutout, gave Alex Cora his first win as a manager and put the Boston Red Sox in the win column.

In all, it wasn’t just a save for Kimbrel, it was very emotional because of all he went through to make it back to the team.

"“It was a very tough offseason and an abbreviated Spring Training, but we made it work,” Kimbrel said, via  “Every part of the organization and people outside of the organization did everything they could to help me get ready.  I was just happy I was able to do it and my daughter was able to heal and do as well as she did.  I am glad we got it out of the way.  Hopefully there are many more to come.”"

Next: Boston Red Sox: Ten Greatest Starting Pitchers of All-Time

The Boston Red Sox will look to continue the solid starting pitching when they turn the ball over to Rick Porcello, who will look to return to his Cy Young-winning ways.