By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Red Sox are faced with an inescapable, harsh reality.
They need David Price. Desperately.
But the Red Sox hitched their wagon to the wrong horse. The hard truth is that David Price is incapable of delivering when it counts.
He is the ultimate October failure. Of all the great professional sports choke-artists, Price has established himself as the Rembrandt of his craft.
Saturday night’s five-out, two-home run debacle was the pinnacle of Price’s postseason career to-date. It was his October meltdown masterpiece.
It was his Mona Lisa.
Price’s record as a starter in the playoffs now sits at 0-9. His ERA in a starting role has climbed to an astronomical 6.03.
There’s no way to sugarcoat that.
Perhaps even more disturbing are his stats against the Yankees this season. In 17 1/3 innings, Price has given up 21 runs on 24 hits, has walked 11 men, and has given up an astonishing 11 home runs.
Eight of those home runs have come at Yankee Stadium, which is where Price’s next appearance will likely come.
Alex Cora has been put in an impossible position. How can he possibly expect to succeed when it seems like his second-best pitcher will never succeed?
It will be a tall task for the Red Sox to win this series without getting some type of contribution from a suddenly rested and available Price over the next three games. Few teams in baseball can win in October without having to rely on their top two pitchers.
The Red Sox will have to rely on Price, no matter how unreliable he may be.
Cora understands that. On Sunday, he indicated that he plans to use Price in relief for the rest of the series. His number will be called again.
But we know David Price can’t pitch in Yankee Stadium in any capacity and be successful. He simply cannot handle it.
It’s safe to say that Price is the only $217 million pitcher in baseball that needs to be hidden from a particular opponent to save himself from near certain annihilation.
But there’s no hiding in October. Cora will have to turn to Price over the next two nights because he probably doesn’t have a choice. His bullpen isn’t good enough to keep a former Cy Young award winner off the mound.
There is no escaping it: if the game is close, you will see Price take the mound in front of 55,000 rabid Yankee fans in the Bronx. You better believe they will be ready to remind him of his October horrors, as if he needs any reminder.
It’s hard not to feel like that outing, whether it comes in Game 3 or Game 4, will be the next brushstroke on Price’s canvas of postseason failures.
There is no answer for the Red Sox with Price. They can’t win with him, and it’s hard to see them winning without him.
It’s never good to need someone you can’t rely on.