David Price

Paul Rutherford/USA Today Sports

Don't forget David Price: Left-hander takes another step towards reinvention with outstanding effort vs. Yankees

John Tomase
August 06, 2018 - 1:32 am
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David Price's moment of truth arrived early.

Five batters into Sunday's series finale vs. the Yankees, Price found himself with the bases loaded. Just over a month earlier, on the same ESPN Sunday Night Baseball stage, Price had delivered the worst start of his career in a blowout loss that sent him searching for answers.

Price allowed five home runs and eight runs, leaving the Red Sox effectively tied for first in the American League East. Price spoke softly in the Yankee Stadium visiting clubhouse that night.

"I've faced the Yankees many times," He said. "It's time for me to kind of go back to the drawing board."

Over the last month, Price has remade his approach. Once reliant on an upper-90s fastball, he has spent the last few weeks honing his cutter and changeup, with impressive results.

So when the Yankees loaded the bases with two outs in the first on Sunday night, Price faced an immediate crossroads: either escape damage or say here we go again.

Price chose Option A, carried a shutout into the seventh, and Red Sox fans suddenly have to be feeling even better about their already tremendous chances to advance deep into October.

"It was big," Price said. "You know, I think I've given up at least three runs against those guys in the first inning every time this year. And to make pitches and get out of that inning, that was big."

We should take this moment to note that the Red Sox blew a 1-0 lead in the seventh, thus denying Price the victory. We should further note that they then overcame a 4-1 deficit in the ninth to steal a 5-4 victory that may render Price a footnote, but it's an important footnote. 

The no-decision did little to dim the positivity surrounding Price. He needed to prove the Yankees didn't have his number, and he did it by taking a shutout into the seventh. He left the mound to a standing ovation after a Brett Gardner single and Austin Romine walk, serenaded by the strains of Frankie Vallie's "Can't Take My Eyes off You" and its rousing chorus of, "I love you baby."

It was quite a turnaround for a pitcher who has spent much of the last year in the eye of the storm. Relying largely on a mid-80s changeup that he kept away from New York's potent right-handed bats, Price controlled the game until coming back out for the seventh.

It's hardly Price's fault that reliever Heath Hembree couldn't throw a strike, or that Xander Bogaerts booted a tailor-made double play ball that could've allowed the Red Sox to escape the seventh with a 1-1 tie.

Price went six-plus innings, allowing four hits and two runs. He walked three and struck out five while throwing a season-high 108 pitches.

"I don't think anybody's thrown the ball better than us since the All-Star break," Price said.

Price entered the game just 2-6 with an 8.42 ERA in nine career starts vs. the Yankees with the Red Sox. so this was a notable improvement.

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