Even with a 4-1 record, the $217 million dollar man hasn't quite lived up to the hype, at least not yet. If I told you that David Price had 4 wins in his first 7 starts, you'd probably be content; until you looked at the numbers. Price currently has a 6.75 ERA, which is good enough for worst on the Red Sox; yes it's worse than Buchholz'. However, future manager-of-the-year Dustin Pedroia thinks he found the reason for Price's struggles.
As Price continues to get raked by lowly teams like the Yankees, everyone scrambled to try and find the reason. You don't go from Cy Young caliber pitching to the worst pitcher in a bad rotation in one offseason, and for no reason at all. Many suspected that an injury was at play, but John Farrell quickly dispelled that notion, informing us that Price was 100% healthy. Enter Dustin Pedroia.
Pedroia discovered that Price is not raising his knee, nor his hands as high as he usually does, and this could explain the drop in velocity. Whether you believe that the 2nd baseman discovered this and not our manger or pitching coach is up to you, but we'll have to wait and see what happens. Players get into bad habits and in turn, their performance drops. Let's hope that this is all a mechanical issue, and not the "dead arm" idea thats floating around.
Hypothetically, let's say Price takes the mound tonight and goes 8 innings, giving up 1 run. Are you sold that Pedroia is a better manager than Farrell, and that David Price is cured of his horrific start? Are we almost guaranteed a win every 5 starts, and will 2 runs be enough to get Price a win? If the Red Sox want to make a deep playoff run, and be a World Series contender, that is the kind of production they will need from their ace.
It's a lot easier to think that the problem is as simple as raising your leg higher, but what if that's not the problem? What happens if the Astros put up 6 runs in 5 innings against Price tonight? With Buchholz pitching poorly, all of Boston is calling for a trade, but with the contract they just gave Price, that is not an option. I know they found a way to get Sandoval out of the lineup for the year, but for $31 million a year, Price will continue to pitch, no matter how bad his performance is.
As good as this offense is, they won't be able to keep it up every night, and they won't be able to bail out Price every time he has a bad outing. With 21 wins in 34 games, it seems this team is on pace to make a playoff appearance. However, they will not be a serious contender unless they get help from their ace. Great pitching usually wins out against great hitting, and the Red Sox will encounter great pitching if they reach the postseason. Let's hope they figure this out and have some high caliber pitching of their own to throw at teams.
By Matt Watts