On a night where the offense was relatively quiet, the Red Sox fell to the Orioles 3-2 last night. David Price threw 8 innings giving up 3 runs on 5 hits with 11 strikeouts. Although it looks good on paper, Price's performance simply wasn't good enough.
Price retired only 2 batters before giving up a 2-run ding dong to Manny Machado down the right field line. The practice of giving up homeruns before the fans can take their seats is becoming routine with this rotation, and it is costing them games.
I'll give credit where credit is due, David Price was absolutely lights out following the homerun. However, I'm so sick of great performances that come after fatal mistakes. It is not too much to ask that your $217 million ace have at least a few scoreless innings to start a ballgame.
A lot of people want to blame the offense for not showing up, which is a reasonable argument. However, this is baseball and they won't be able to bail out Price every night; they're going to have off nights. People forget that Price was routinely surrendering 6-7 runs a game for the first month of the season, but was still getting the wins because of this offense. After the amount of support he got from the offense in April/May, this offense has earned a 2-1 victory with Price on the mound.
The Red Sox gave David Price that massive contract because he is supposed to be the pitcher that wins games 1-0 or 2-1. So far he has proven then he can only win if the Red Sox offense is business as usual. That is not why he was brought into Boston, and the offense shouldn't need to put up 4 runs to win with him on the mound.
Last night the offense did enough to bail Price out of his first inning mistake, but that wasn't the only mistake he made. After a solo homerun by Bradley, the Sox had cut the lead in half, but Price would give the run back on the very first pitch of the next inning. An ace does not do that. Anything less than a shutdown inning in that situation, is a failure.
The homerun by Bradley is an example of an excusable mistake by a pitcher. Tillman had given the Orioles 6 scoreless innings before surrendering his first mistake. A mistake which didn't surrender the Orioles' lead and came after a fantastic first 6 innings.
David Price was outpitched by Chris Tillman last night, plain and simple. As I said, one mistake can be excused because the Sox did enough to erase that deficit, but it was a second mistake by the ace that cost the Red Sox a win. A second mistake that you don't see from the other guys making $30+ million a year.
Call me old fashioned, but I guess I've been spoiled when it comes to aces in Boston. I've seen Clemens, Pedro and Lester pitch here, and I have a hard time putting David Price in the same ballpark as those guys. Yes, the offense is great this year, but if they can't steal a win with their ace on the mound, we won't be watching Red Sox baseball in October.
By Matt Watts