Price Finds Success in Post-Season, Critics Silenced — for Now
It was a week ago, in Houston, and David Price pitched six shutout innings, not only earning his first victory in 12 post-season starts but providing the heavy lifting in what was the Red Sox ALCS clinching victory against the Astros.
“It is definitely a weight lifted off me,” said Price, who had seen his team lose his first 10 post-season starts, and then cover up his stumble in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Astros.
In that game, the Sox rallied for a victory after Price was sent to the showers after giving up four runs on five hits and four walks. He retired only 14 batters in what became an 8-5 win, and the first game of what is now a six-game Red Sox winning streak in this post-season.
For now, however, that’s in Price’s rear-view mirror.
On Wednesday night at Fenway Park, Price made it two in a row, again working six shutout innings in a victory that gave the Red Sox a 2-games-to-none lead in the best-of-seven World Series. Big deal? Well, in post-season history, a team that has won the first two games of a best-of-seven series, has gone on to win the series 80.8 percent of the time.
And for Price’s sake, Wednesday was arguably an even bigger victory than the clincher in Houston. On Wednesday, all things didn’t go smooth. Price did see the Dodgers load the bases in the fourth inning, scoring twice, only to see him not only strikeout Enrique Hernandez and Austin Barnes to get out of the mess, but retire the final seven batters of his six-inning effort.
“That was a tough inning,” said Price. “It could have spun out of control. That’s been one of my Achilles, especially in the playoffs, even in the regular season, that big inning.”
He does, however, still have the worst winning percentage in post-season history for a pitcher with at least four starts, and the second highest starting pitcher ERA (5.42) in post-season history.
Rest assured, Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers’ starting pitcher in the opening game of the World Series, was watching from the visiting bench at Fenway, and while he certainly was rooting for the Dodgers to win against Price, he understood the satisfaction Price had to feel in for a second start in a row, shedding the negative post-season reputation.
Kershaw, after all, has faced the same verbal onslaughts from the media in his career. He struggled early, claiming a victory in only one of his first nine post-season starts. He, however, has won eight of his last 11 post-season decisions, but when he does stumble the whining grows.
He suffered the loss in Game 1 of the World Series at Fenway Park, and throughout the day the attacks on Kershaw came out full force, a steady line of ESPN talk-show hosts questioning his manhood for becoming the opposing starting pitcher in what has been a six-game post-season winning streak for the Red Sox. The opposing pitcher for the opponent in an 11-game stretch in which the Red Sox have scored 68 runs.
The Red Sox are now 9-2 in this post-season, knocking off the Yankees in four games in the best-of-five, AL Division Series, and the Astros in five games in the best-of-seven ALCS, and now having that 2-0 edge on the Dodgers.
But instead of giving the Red Sox credit for playing so well, it was Kershaw’s ancient history that became the focal point after the Red Sox Game 1 victory.
“How can he be so great 80 percent of the time and so bad the 20 percent that matters,” announced Will Cain on his afternoon show on ESPN radio.
And the critics will jump on Price’s past the next time he stumbles.
For now, though, Price can enjoy his success. He has earned that opportunity.
As he said after that game against the Astros, “It’s not like the food tastes better or anything like that, but it was nice,” he said. “I’m definitely glad that the time has come, and we moved past (the winless stretch). I look forward to doing the same thing (in the World Series).”
The criticisms have been turned into praise — for the time being at least.
Price Wasn’t Right — But He Is Now
|10/6/2010||Div (1)||Tex||L 5-1||0-1||5.4||6.2||9||5||4||2||0||0||8|
|10/12/2010||Div (5)||Tex||L 5-1||0-2||4.97||6||8||3||3||0||0||0||6|
|10/3/2011||Div (3)||Tex||L 4-3||0-3||4.66||6.2||7||3||3||1||1||0||3|
|10/5/2013||Div (2)||@Bos||L 7-4||0-4||5.81||7||9||7||7||2||2||0||5|
|10/5/2014||Div (3)||Bal||L 2-1||0-5||4.98||8||5||2||2||1||2||1||6|
|10/8/2015||Div (1)||Tex||L 5-3||0-6||5.23||7||5||5||5||2||2||2||5|
|10/17/2015||LCS (2)||@KC||L 6-3||0-7||5.44||6.2||6||5||5||0||0||0||8|
|10/23/2015||LCS (6)||@KC||L 4-3||ND||5.27||6.2||5||3||3||2||1||0||8|
|10/7/2016||Div (2)||@Cle||L 6-0||0-8||5.74||3.1||6||5||5||1||2||0||3|
|10/6/2018||Div (2)||NYY||L 6-2||0-9||6.03||1.2||3||3||3||2||2||0||0|
|10/14/2018||LCS (2)||Hou||W 7-5||ND||6.16||4.2||5||4||4||1||4||0||4|
|10/18/2018||LCS (5)||@Hou||W 4-1||1-9||5.63||6||3||0||0||0||0||0||9|
|10/24/2018||WS (2)||LAD||W 4-2||2-9||5.42||6||3||2||2||0||3||0||5|
|Totals Team 3-10||2-9||5.42||76.1||74||47||46||14||19||3||70|