With a chance to sweep the Yankees and pull to within one game of the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the East, the Red Sox had their $200 million dollar man on the mound last night. Coming out of the break, Sox fans (including myself) were hopeful that David Price had figured out the source of his struggles throughout the first half of the year. Unfortunately, it was much of the same for Price and the Sox last night in the Bronx.
Like so many times this season, the big lefty looked sharp in the opening frames. His velocity was excellent, painting the black with a fastball touching 96 mph early and often. That, combined with his ability to mix in his breaking ball saw Price making quick work of the Yankees 19th ranked lineup through the first three innings. But, much like it has SO many times this season, one big inning ultimately did in the Red Sox “ace”.
So often this year, Price’s nemesis has been the long ball. While he didn’t allow a yabo last night, (a small miracle) he did surrender five hits in the fourth inning that resulted in three Yankee runs. Combine that with an excellent performance from Tanaka and the great Yankee bullpen, and that was all she wrote for the Sox and their six game winning streak.
Watching a pitcher with Price’s track record and ability struggle so mightily this season has been nothing short of perplexing. Mowing down lineups for years with the Rays, Jays, and Tigers, no one could have envisioned him sitting on an ERA of 4.36 twenty starts into his Red Sox career. Here’s hoping he can right the ship before the Sox and their playoff hopes disappear in the heat of the summer.