Last night was arguably the most gut-wrenching loss of the season for the Red Sox. David Price was rolling through this game, before he was hit in the leg in the sixth inning. Price appeared fine, but the exit velocity of the pitch that hit him was 112 MPH, so I am guessing that did not feel great. Nevertheless, Price continued to dominate the rest of the sixth and seventh inning, but was clearly a different guy once the eighth inning rolled around.
Instead of sitting around 94-95 MPH like he had been all night, Price was struggling to hit 92 MPH and was losing his command. Price relinquished a lead-off home run to Mike Zunino and should have immediately been taken out of this game. Yet, in similar John Farrell fashion, he left Price in the game for way too long, and Price relinquished two more hits. Finally, John Farrell went to go get his ace and brought in newly acquired Fernando Abad to face Robinson Cano. With two men on base, Abad threw a TERRIBLE curveball that Cano launched 398 feet for a go-ahead home run.
It is tough to blame Price for this game, especially because of his numbers in the late innings. Like a typical ace, Price gets stronger as the game goes on. In the sixth inning this season, in 19 appearances, Price has given up only two runs. Similarly, in 16 starts, in the seventh inning, Price has only given up one run. Additionally, from his 76th to 100th pitch, Price is holding batters to a .202 batting average. After 100 pitches, Price is holding batters to a .219 batting average. Not bad for a guy that has been "struggling" all season, right?
Because of these numbers, Farrell did not necessarily make the wrong decision in throwing David Price back out there for the eighth inning, especially because he was at 89 pitches. However, after giving up the lead-off home run and then relinquishing a base hit, Farrell should have taken Price out of this ball game.
If you want to blame someone for last night's loss, blame Fernando Abad or John Farrell. However, DO NOT just look at the box score and say that this game is on Price's shoulders.