It’s become a day-and-night topic in the Boston market that David Price hasn’t lived up to the hype that surrounded him when the Red Sox signed him back in the 2015-16 offseason.
When the Red Sox placed All-Star and Cy Young Award front-runner Chris Sale on the 10-Day disabled list with mild left shoulder inflammation, Red Sox Nation went into a state of panic. For the time being, the Red Sox are back to a rotation that is essentially parallel to the 2016 staff, with Price as the de facto ‘Ace.’
It’s funny to think about this now that after spending the better part of two and a half seasons watching Price pitch for the Boston Red Sox, there are genuine feelings of nervousness and anxiety that come with each and every pitch the 32-year-old throws. Whether you have the utmost confidence in Price, or you’re one of those fans who openly root for him to get shelled each time he toes the slab, there’s no denying that the Red Sox need to get the Cy Young caliber pitching they expected when Price signed a lucrative seven-year, $217 million back in December of 2015.
The left-hander has already made 10 more starts and five more appearances than he did back in 2017 when he missed most of the season due to various forearm and elbow issues. That being said, more usage hasn’t necessarily led to more success out of Price, who has had dominant stretches, but then in games against teams such as New York, he falls off.
With Sale no longer available to pitch against the second-place Yankees, it makes Price’s start on Sunday Night that much more important. Not only does Price have to square off against a team who has owned him throughout his Red Sox career, but he also has to do it on National television, as the game will be telecast on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
As far as why that’s significant, Price got the nod on Sunday Night Baseball the last time these two teams went toe-to-toe and he allowed eight runs with five home runs in just 3 1/3 innings pitched in a game in which the Red Sox lost 11-1.
Price has looked lights out since the All-Star Break, going 1-0 with a 0.63 ERA in two outings, including an eight inning effort against the National League East-leading Philadelphia Phillies, where he allowed just one run.
If the Red Sox have any chance on making a legitimate postseason run, they need the David Price they signed prior to 2016 more than ever. With the Red Sox on pace to win 112 games this season, there’s absolutely zero reason for this team to lose in the ALDS again. But for them to be successful in October, they shouldn’t have to rely on the likes of Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, or even Nate Eovaldi to get the job done. They should be depending on David Price to come out and dominate a Game 2, regardless of the result of Game 1.