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David Price picked a good time to become an ace

Rob Bradford
August 19, 2018 - 8:01 am

Following the Red Sox' 5-2 win over the Rays, David Price had some quotes of interest. (For a complete recap of the Sox' win, click here.)

Question: What has been the difference in your turnaround?

Answer: "I made adjustments."

Question: What kind of adjustments?

Answer (said with a smile): "I'm not going to tell you. You go back and watch film. I'm not going to do your job for you, I'm sorry. You don't do mine so go home, do yours."

Alrighty then ...

We did go back to watch the film and what here is what we saw: An ace. That's really all that matters at this point.

The alterations Price has made since that July 1 debacle in the Bronx have already been documented. The Boston Globe's Alex Speier broke down some the changes in an Aug. 4 article. Dana LeVangie also explained to that a big difference has been the pitcher teaming up with catcher Sandy Leon. (In six games with Leon, the lefty has a 1.71 ERA.)

But we've seen adjustments before from Price, with the results coming and going. This seems more permanent. And it such a development couldn't come at a better time for the Red Sox.

"Just getting back to myself," he said. "I definitely changed a lot of stuff up here the first two and a half years and to just be able to get back to the pitcher that Boston signed. It's about time."

Yes. It was perhaps the most succinct and meaningful sentence uttered by Price since his arrival.

There is a reason the Red Sox signed Price to this $217 million deal. It was because they needed an ace, something that left hadn't been on the roster since Jon Lester's departure. And when Price wasn't the guy that first year in Boston, the Sox needed to go find another one, which they successfully managed with the acquisition of Chris Sale.

Now there is doubt when it comes to Sale. While the pitcher and his team are downplaying the mild shoulder issue that put the lefty on the disabled list for a second time, the benefit of the doubt when it comes to absolutely knowing this won't be an issue when it counts the most has left the building. Rest or no rest, we simply don't know what lays ahead for Sale.

This is where Price comes in.

After his seven-inning, two-run outing against Tampa Bay Price is 3-0 with a 1.35 in his five starts since the All-Star break. During that time, only three starters (Trevor Williams, Max Scherzer, Carlos Carrasco) have been better ERA-wise.

And perhaps most importantly, when he has pitched the Red Sox usually win. Alex Cora's team has won each of the starter's last seven appearances, and 15 of his most recent 17. Price has started 18 team wins this season, only behind Luis Severino (19) and tied for second with Houston's Gerrit Cole (18).

"I think with David, I don’t know what the stat is, but I think bases loaded, they’re hitting one-something against him (actually 0-for-8 with two walks). Same with men in scoring position. He bears down," Cora said. "He’s been great but the numbers kind of like back him out in that situation. That’s what great pitchers do. You get the lead, and you go deep into the game, flip it to the bullpen and get the W."

"I'm making, $32 million? It don't matter," Price said. "They don't change what I'm doing. I've got enough pressure on me."

Price is right, and so far he's handling in just the manner the Red Sox need him to.