When the Red Sox acquired David Price, I was absolutely ecstatic. The prospect of having one of the best pitchers in all of baseball take the mound every five days was something that most Red Sox fans could agree was freakin' awesome. Unfortunately, David Price has been wildly mediocre, if not bad, since being given $217 million by Red Sox ownership.
However, Price has been better as of late, pitching close to a 3.00 ERA since June. Additionally, Price's average fastball velocity has increased, which was a major area of concern at the beginning of the season. In April, Price's average fastball velocity was 93.2 MPH, which was a career-low. Coming into yesterday's start, in July, Price's average fastball velocity was 94.6 MPH. That stat has has only increased, as Price was hitting 97 MPH last night with relative ease.
Nevertheless, Price has struggled against the American League East, entering yesterday's contest with a 5.43 ERA, while the Red Sox were 4-6 in the 10 games in which he has pitched.
In the first, Price was able to work around some hard hit balls by the Yankees and hand them their 21st consecutive game in which they failed to score in the first inning, which is their longest streak since 1967. Unfortunately, Price was only able to work around so many hits, and gave up three runs in the fourth inning on several extremely hard hit balls. With a high pitch count because of the aggressiveness of the New York Yankees, Price was only able to last 5.2 innings, while giving up 11 hits and three earned runs. The most fascinating part about Price's outing was his inability to finish off batters. Price would frequently get up in the count, but could not strike out or finish at-bats, as he only had one strikeout on the day. While some could point to E-Rod having the same problem on Saturday and chalk it up to the Yankees being a tough team to strike out, Price entered the game as the American League leader in strikeouts with 140. E-Rod and Price are not even in the same stratosphere as an MLB pitcher, so it is stupid to compare the two.
David Price was not terrible, and it is hard to get on a guy when the offense can only score one run, but you expect your "ace," and I am starting to use that term loosely, to keep the winning streak going, not cut it short. Price needs to get better and pitch like the David Price that we have seen with the Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays. I'm tired of his excuses. Pitch like an ace.
Offensively, the Red Sox could not figure out Masahiro Tanaka, who visibly did not have his best stuff of the season. While Dustin Pedroia was able to launch a solo shot in the first inning to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead, that was the extent of the damage for the best offense in all of baseball. The Red Sox entered the game leading all of baseball in runs per game (5.6), batting average (.291), on base percentage (.358), slugging percentage (.473), and extra base-hits (342). However, after not being able to figure out Tanaka, who was leaving the ball up in the strike zone the entire game, the Red Sox had to face arguably the best bullpen in all of baseball, and it was game over.
Next up, the Red Sox will head back to Fenway Park to start a home stand against the San Francisco Giants. Check back in tomorrow night for a full game preview.