Boston can embrace David Price.
They should embrace Price.
The pitcher started for the Boston Red Sox in Game 5 of the ALCS, and delivered a gem to send his team to the World Series. Against the Houston Astros on Thursday night, Price threw six innings with three hits, no earned runs, no walks and nine strikeouts. A 93-pitch, 65-strike beauty. Yes, 93 freaking pitches in the ALCS. Considering the shaky state of the Sox’ bullpen, that’s invaluable.
And frankly, his performance was stunning.
Price’s first two starts this postseason were a disaster. In the ALDS against the New York Yankees, Price lasted 1.2 innings with an absurdly awful 16.2 ERA. His next outing in the ALCS wasn’t much better — he went 4.2 innings with a 9.95 ERA. That perpetuated Price’s reputation: he couldn’t win in the postseason as a starter (2-9, 5.42 ERA). At times, like in the 2017 postseason, Price has excelled out of the bullpen. But that’s not enough for the man who signed a $217 million deal in 2016. He’s a starter, and needed to start in the postseason. Price has said his regular season success meant nothing unless he could win in the postseason, and finally he has put up. And perhaps Boston can shut up, and get behind the polarizing character.
Was getting a postseason win enough for Price?
“Not yet. Not for me,” he said on the TBS postgame broadcast. “Not for the other guys in the clubhouse. We’ve got four more wins. That was very, very special. Absolutely. But we want more.”
Spoken like a champion in the making.
If he can pitch like he did in Game 5, the Red Sox should be on their way to a World Series win. After all, they’ve found ways to win without strong performances from their best players. In Price’s first start in the ALCS, the Sox won 7-5 despite his messy start. MVP-candidate Mookie Betts, who averaged .346 in the regular season, has hit just .205 this postseason. Even closer Craig Kimbrel seems like an unreliable head case in these playoffs. If their best players play well, they should breeze through the series.
Price seems to be putting it together, exorcising his playoff demons.
“It started last night in the bullpen,” Price told TBS. “Threw quite a few pitches to come in for that next hitter. Found something out last night and it carried over into today.”
For Boston, that revelation must hold strong. For Price, that quality of pitching must continue.