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David Price explains why he came out after three batters

Rob Bradford
May 26, 2019 - 8:12 am

The first sign something was wrong came when pitching coach Dana LeVangie was seen on the phone to the Red Sox' bullpen just two batters into the game.

David Price seemed fine, but clearly, there was a reason Alex Cora and LeVangie wanted to get Colten Brewer warming up.

As it turned out the impetus for the action was Price's illness.

After Price faced just three batters Saturday night against the Astros Cora came out to the mound and after a lengthy discussion with his starter decided it was time to go to the bullpen. After the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Houston, the Sox manager explained what happened. (For a complete recap of the Sox loss, click here.)

"Yeah, he’s been battling the last - since the start in Toronto," Cora told reporters. "It wasn’t a normal week for him. Before the game, I talked to him and said we don’t need heroes here. He’s like ‘I’m good’ but when he came out after he warmed up, Sandy (Leon) talked to me a little bit, Dana talked to me a little bit. I saw him and talked to him. As soon as he went out there and threw the first pitch my mind starts spinning and I’m like 'No we don’t need this.’ This guy is too valuable for us. There’s no energy. He was trying to compete with that and I appreciate that like I told him but there’s a bigger picture here and we need him to be right. And shame on me if he makes a pitch and something happens. That was going to be on me so I decided to take him out of the game and take our chances and to be honest with you it was cool to see."

After the game -- which saw the Red Sox use Brewer, Travis Lakins, Heath Hembree, Hector Velazquez and Matt Barnes -- Price explained to reporters how he felt.

"My back, back of my legs, my neck, just achiness all over," said the pitcher, who didn't throw any of his 15 pitches faster than 90 mph. "Nothing really feels good right now. I’m sure everybody here has experienced that. Think about trying to go out and make pitches. I could’ve just ducked the start from the get-go. I didn’t want to do that, didn’t want to put us in that position. Went out there and tried to take the ball, AC didn’t like what he saw, so he took me out of the game. I wanted to stay in the game but he came out there. That’s that."

The bullpen held their own after Price's exit, with Brewer pitching 2 1/3 shutout innings. Ultimately it was the Red Sox' go-to, late-inning guy, Matt Barnes, who had the roughest outing, allowing a walk-off to Houston's Carlos Correa in the ninth inning after Christian Vazquez's two-run single tied things for the visitors in the top half of the ninth. Barnes failed to retire a batter in taking the loss.

"I just stunk," Barnes told reporters. "I mean, flat-out, couldn’t command stuff. I left a 1-0 breaking ball to (Aledmys) Diaz and he ripped it inside for the double. I made some pretty good pitches to Bregman. I thought there was one fastball, threw a good curveball, spit on it and he’s a good hitter. Just didn’t execute enough pitches. Left stuff over the middle of the plate and wasn’t around the plate enough. You know, it’s on me, got to be better and it just sucks."