David Price came struggling out of the gate for the 2016 season. In Price’s first seven starts in a Red Sox uniform, he racked up an ERA of 6.75. In four of those seven starts, he allowed five or more runs, some to teams who can be found at the bottom of the AL East standings. It would have been foolish to think those struggles would last throughout the entire season. Maybe Red Sox fans can just call his time of struggle a readjusting period. Because who we are seeing now is not the same David Price we saw in the beginning of the season through the first week of May.
Last night Price picked up his 8th win of the season against the Seattle Mariners; he went 8 IP, 7 K, 0 BB, 1 ER. His only mistake of the night was a cheap home run hit by Franklin Gutierrez, even after it appeared that he should have been called out on strikes but was awarded another chance to swing. Although, let’s not dwell on one run in 8 innings. Despite the one mistake, he pitched like an ace last night, and this was his third outing in a row where he went 8 innings.
After last night, since May 12th, David Price now has 8 consecutive quality starts without giving up more than 3 runs, a 2.47 ERA, 56 strikeouts, and opponents are hitting .204 with a .615 OPS. Also, in the past 17.2 innings, he hasn’t walked a hitter, which puts him at 10th best in the American League with a K/BB ratio of 4.54 on the season.
For as long as his streak of bad outings was to begin the season, it is a very good sign to see Price putting together a streak of good outings, and this streak seems like it’s only going to get longer and better.
However, it is also worth noting that in his last three games he has given up some pivotal home runs. In his June 8th start against the Giants, he gave up 2 solo home runs, one to Brandon Belt and the other to Mac Williamson to give San Francisco the 2-1 win. In his June 14th start against the Orioles, Price gave up another 2 shots. Manny Machado hit a 2 run home run and Jonathan Schoop had a solo bomb to give Baltimore the 3-2 win. Then in a tight game last night he gave up a home run to Franklin Gutierrez.
Price has been pitching significantly better from the beginning of the season over his last eight starts. However, it is hard not to notice some of the critical home runs he has been giving up in tight games. Granted, this would hardly be an issue if Price was getting better run support as he is getting just an average of 1.75 runs over the past month, but to be a playoff caliber team you are going to need to win a handful of low scoring games. So, the win last night was a very good sign for the Red Sox and Price, as there will most certainly be more low scoring games to come.
I don’t know if it is time to say us Red Sox fans are seeing the true ace in David Price yet. Although, If he keeps hurling like the way he did in last night’s game, it won’t be too much longer until fans can say the Price is right.