By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
In the interest of fairness, let’s ask a simple question: is it possible that we aren’t giving David Price enough credit this year?
After Chris Sale landed on the disabled list for the second time inside of three weeks, Price went out and defeated the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday in a 5-2 win at Fenway Park. The victory made Price 5-0 with a 1.35 ERA since the All-Star break, which suggests that he got to the 10th tee and started fresh after a bumpy front nine. And while that may be true, the truth is that Price may have hit the reset button long before that.
Let’s back up here for a minute: do you remember what the early-season was like for Price? First there was the April 11 start against the Yankees in which he left with numbness in his hand. Then there was the May 3 start against Texas in which he cited his allergies. Then he missed a start in New York because of mild carpal tunnel syndrome, which sent his critics (ahem) into orbit.
At that time, his season looked like this:
Pretty bad, right? Price’s ERA was over five. The team had a losing record when he pitched. And he was missing starts or leaving them prematurely. On top of it all, there was the Fortnite fiasco, after which Price almost defiantly suggested that he wouldn’t miss a start for the remainder of the season.
And you know? He hasn’t.
Has it been perfect? No. Price had a start against New York that was a complete train wreck on July 1, allowing nine hits, eight runs and a whopping five home runs in an 11-1 loss to the Yankees in an ESPN Sunday night game. That game remains his signature moment of the season. And yet, that has really been the only major blemish on Price’s resume since he returned to the rotation following his missed start at New York in May, which brings us to this point:
His latest run isn’t merely since the All-Star break. He’s generally pitched well now for – dare we say it – a hell of a lot longer than a fortnight.
Here’s what Price has done since returning to the rotation in May, a stretch covering 17 games – essentially a half-season:
The bottom line numbers: a 17-start stretch during which the Red Sox are 15-2. Price himself is 11-2 with a 3.19 ERA.
Now, while wins obviously aren’t the best way to evaluate a major league pitcher, Price ranks among the winningest pitchers in baseball during that span. Here is how he has stacked up with fellow Sox pitchers Rick Porcello and Chris Sale – not to mention every other pitcher in baseball – during that span.
Of course, as we all know, Price’s signature moments for the Red Sox will come, as usual, in October. This year, especially, that is when the Red Sox will need him. But to say that he has pitched better since the All-Star break this season really is a gross mischaracterization.
Save for one start in New York – and yes, it was a big one – Price has pitched well for a half-season now.
And without missing a start during that span, dare we say that he has been – ahem – reliable?
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— Stats via Baseball-Reference.com, BaseballMusings.com