I want to love David Price — really, I do — but he won’t let me.
Why, David Price? Why won’t you let me love you?
I know, I know: He’s been fantastic during the second half of this season. Coming into last night’s game against the Yankees, he was 5-0 with a 1.56 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break. So, you know … yay! David Price!
Except, aside from a great relief performance in Game 3 of last year’s ALDS and a win against the Yankees that capped off a four-game sweep at Fenway this summer, I can’t remember a time that Price has come up big during a particularly meaningful Red Sox game.
And, yes, last night’s game qualifies as “particularly meaningful,” despite what the folks on Twitter who ridiculed me for saying so would have you believe. I mean, c’mon: a Red Sox vs. Yankees game at Yankee Stadium in late September during which the Sox have a chance to clinch the A.L. East division title? That isn’t just another game … and you know who would wholeheartedly agree with me? Those same folks who ridiculed me … but only if Price had pitched well enough to win. Then? Well, then, those folks would have been all “See? David Price is The Man! He got the division-clinching win! He’s a Yankee Slayer! No need to worry about him in the postseason, my friends!”
Sadly, the truth remains that, as a postseason starter, Price still has an 0-8 record, and, since joining the Red Sox, is 0-6 at Yankee Stadium, where he has given up 33 earned runs and 13 home runs , in just 30.1 innings of work. So, yes, in the great scheme of things, last night’s game isn’t a huge deal … but I, for one, was hoping to see Price turn in a confidence-boosting performance that didn’t involve giving up four earned runs — three of them homers — over 5.1 innings, during which he threw roughly 9,746 pitches.
And speaking of those three homers: Please miss me with your “Those ahn’t dingahs in any othah ballpahk!” bullshit. When you’re at Fenway, both teams have to deal with a 40-foot wall in left, 310 feet away from home plate. When you’re at Yankee Stadium, both teams have to deal with a short porch in right. You might not like the field dimensions, but they’re the same for both sides, and when the ball travels through fair territory and lands in the seats, that’s a home run. David Price didn’t give up three short fly balls that happened to count as runs through no fault of his own; he gave up three homers.
Of course, not everyone agrees with my assessment … to include former Red Sox infielder and current WEEI personality Lou Merloni (of whom, by the way, I am a big fan; he is easily my favorite ‘EEI personality … but that doesn’t mean I always agree with him). Lou reacted to one of the three aforementioned home runs as follows, and I responded thusly:
Sox hitters have the same short porch this game, FWIW.
Price wilts in big games.
— ⚾️ Jon Zal ⚾️ (@JonZalSox) September 20, 2018
Lou — who, admittedly, knows a little more about baseball than I — did not concur.
Price was fine. They scored 4 runs on pop fly outs and then Nunez’s error https://t.co/HQjqJWI5Cy
— Lou Merloni (@LouMerloni) September 20, 2018
Well, I still don’t agree with him about the “pop-fly outs” thing, nor that Price was “fine” … but he’s not wrong about Nuñez.
So, yes, I will gladly admit that a very costly error, a dormant offense, and a weak performance by the bullpen played at least as much of a role in last night’s “L” as did David Price’s shaky start. And, fortunately, it will amount to little more than a brief delay in the Sox’s inevitable acquisition of the A.L. East title. But still … I want to love David Price … and last night, he would not let me. And not for the first time.
To his credit, Price didn’t try to use that short-porch BS as an excuse for his performance.
“Everybody’s playing in the same park,” he told reporters after the game. “It’s not like the fences move back when we hit or move forward when they hit, so it’s part of it.”
Well said, David. Well said.
Now, please: Let me love you.