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David Price identifies his turning point for the season in interview with D&K

Alex Reimer
August 21, 2018 - 2:22 pm

This might be David Price’s best stretch since joining the Red Sox. Over his last six starts, the left-hander is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA. 

Earlier this week, Price refused to expound about the adjustments he’s made, telling reporters to look into the matter themselves. But in an interview Tuesday with “Dale & Keefe” as part of the Jimmy-Fund Radio Telethon, Price traced his current stretch back to his outing in Kansas City July 7, which followed his eight-run debacle at Yankee Stadium the previous Sunday night.

“It kind of started in Kansas City, even though Kansas City didn’t go as planned, Price said. “That was the starting block for me pitching the way I have since –– probably since 2010 or 2011. For a six-year span, that was the way I pitched. To get away from that when I came here and try to kind of reinvent myself when the league didn’t make me adjustment. I kind of just did it on my own, and to get back to what had made me successful on that pitcher’s mound, and get back to that fairly quickly. I’m happy.”

It may seem odd for Price to select that start as a turning point, since he hit three batters and didn’t last through five innings. But there’s no denying his results since then. For the last month, Price has been the ace the Red Sox paid for. His performance is a big reason why the Red Sox are enjoying a nine-game lead in the division. 

“We said it in Spring Training. We didn’t know what we wouldn’t do well,” Price explained. “At this point, through 120 games, we do everything extremely well –– on the base paths, defensively, offensively, starting pitching, the bullpen. We do everything very well. Whenever you’re on a team that doesn’t have a glaring weakness, and you stay healthy and consistent through the remainder of the season, you can do some special things.”

One of the biggest differences between last year and this season is the presence of Alex Cora. Price recounted a lunch meeting with Cora in Spring Training that set the tone for their close relationship.

“He’s been great, starting before Spring Training –– reaching out to guys, setting up lunches, Sandy (Leon), Jackie Bradley, myself, we all went to BJ’s Brew House in Fort Myers, just hearing everything he had to talk about at that point, Price said. “It was his first time managing, it was his first Spring Training, and for him to fire off some of the ideas he fired off, I think it caught us all off-guard. When he said it, we were like, ‘That sounds great. That’s something we’ve talked about for quite a while now, and for you to step in your first year, you’re hitting some pretty big points right on the head.’ He grabbed our attention and respect from that very first meeting, and has held it ever since, just from his ability to communicate and always being around –– talking to us about other stuff besides baseball. Me and AC talk on a daily basis, and maybe three times out of the week it’s about baseball. We have a lot in common, he has two new twins, they just turned a year old. My son is 15 months old. So we’re going through the parenthood thing. We just talk like friends. It’s good.”

Of course, none of the Red Sox’ success would be possible without J.D. Martinez, who leads the league in home runs. While Price says Mookie Betts is the MVP of the league, he says Martinez is the most valuable player on the Red Sox. 

“From what he did from the time I was in Detroit until the end of last year, I think everybody saw what J.D. was capable of doing,” Price said. “Whenever he got hurt, I think he missed a little over a month last year, and for him to put up the numbers he was able to put up, what he did for the Diamondbacks after the trade deadline, that was one of the more special things I’ve seen from a baseball player, especially in the second half like that. I think we all did kind of understand what J.D. could do, and for him to come and hit in Fenway for 81 games, though he doesn’t hit a whole lot of balls to left field. But for him to play nine games in Camden, nine games in Yankee Stadium and Toronto as well, we knew he would be able to put up some Nintendo numbers, and he’s done that.”