After a sweet offseason, David Price gets a taste of game action again
FORT MYERS, Fla. — It’s all quiet now for David Price. He is just another very good major league pitcher who makes a lot of money. He is just another World Series champ in a clubhouse with 21 other guys who can make the same claim. He is just another former Cy Young winner on a starting staff peppered with puffy résumés.
Perhaps most important, Price has passed the Boston pro sports terrible temperament torch to Kyrie Irving.
When discussing Price, no ever talks about Fortnite or Dennis Eckersley or postseason choking anymore. No one says, “Yuck.’’
In case you hadn’t heard, David Price holds the trump card now.
The smarter-than-everybody Red Sox came into spring training with a plan to keep all the star starting pitchers under wraps for the first two weeks.
This is why fans paying hard-earned vacation dough saw the likes of Mike Shawaryn, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Josh Smith getting the ball to start games for the Red Sox in Florida.
With just over two weeks left before the season opener in Seattle, Alex Cora started rolling out his big guys this week. First we saw Rick Porcello Sunday in Port Charlotte against the Rays. Then we saw Chris Sale throw 45 pitches against minor leaguers in a simulated game on a back field Monday. Tuesday it was Price’s turn.
The man who should have been MVP of the 2018 World Series (2-0, 1.98 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance) pitched three innings, giving up two runs on three hits and two walks. He threw 42 pitches, 26 for strikes, and struck out four.
Price needed only seven pitches to strike out Detroit’s Nos. 2 and 3 batters in the first. He surrendered a walk in the second.
Price was inches from a clean getaway in the third when he issued a two-out walk to Josh Harrison. Tigers shortstop Jordy Mercer followed with a long homer to left on an 0-and-1 pitch. Price finished the third by getting Niko Goodrum to ground to short. When Price got to the dugout, Cora told him, “We’re on to Matt Barnes.’’
What did Price think of his outing?
“What bothers me most about it was the two two-out walks that I had,” said Price. “I gave up that homer and went to the next hitter and was able to bounce back and throw strikes and get that third out. For the first time out there in so many months, I’m OK with it.’’
So many months.
The last time Price pitched in a game was Oct. 28, when he was the winning pitcher in the Game 5 World Series clincher. The offseason was pretty sweet for all of the Red Sox, especially Price.
“It was good,’’ he said of his winter of content. “I didn’t think of anything negative. Having it end on a good note the way we did, that was different than any other offseason I’ve ever had.’’
Nathan Eovaldi — the last of the Fenway Front Four starters — will get the ball Wednesday against the Twins at JetBlue Park. Eduardo Rodriguez, the No. 5 guy, has pitched three times already.
Remember when John Farrell said the Red Sox had five aces? It was 2015 and the Sox finished last. This year they really could have five solid starters.
“We have five guys who are going to give us a chance to win, day in and day out,’’ said Price. “I’ve been blessed to be on good staffs since I’ve been in the big leagues. Here we have five guys that give you the opportunity to win every day. It makes everybody rest easy.
“We push each other on the field, away from the field. Golf. Ping-Pong. It doesn’t matter. We are five competitive guys looking to win.’’
He’s OK with the delayed start of his spring training.
“None of us had ever been a part of this before,’’ he said. “It’s just a matter of getting started later. I felt strong in October last year. It was a good ending for us and myself as well and we’re just looking to build on that finish.’’
A year ago, we would have reminded Price that the regular season starts in a fortnight.
No more. No nonsense. No clowns to the left, no jokers to the right.
The Sox have five aces and David Price is holding that trump card.