By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — David Price didn’t sign with the Red Sox for seven years and $217 million just to pitch in the regular season. Boston acquired him so he could take the ball in October, a month that has not been kind to the 30-year-old over the course of his career.
Price takes an 0-7 career postseason record (as a starter) to the mound on Friday at Progressive Field in Cleveland to take on the Indians, who hit three home runs off Rick Porcello to take a 1-0 lead in the American League Division Series. In eight career postseason starts, Price has compiled a 5.27 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 54.2 innings. He got a win in relief for the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 4 of the 2015 ALDS against the Texas Rangers, but allowed three earned runs on six hits in three innings of work.
Price was once a tough-luck loser in 2014 with the Detroit Tigers. He pitched eight innings allowing just two earned runs on five hits and two walks against the Baltimore Orioles in Game 3 of the 2014 ALDS. However, Price did allow a two-run home run to Nelson Cruz in the top of the sixth inning to break a scoreless tie and was ultimately out-pitched by Bud Norris in that game.
It’s fair to say that Price has never delivered the kind of shut-down start he is capable of when pitching in October. He is determined to put his past issues in the postseason behind him as he gets ready for his playoff debut in a Red Sox uniform.
“I want to help this team win, that’s the bottom line,” Price told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jonny Miller during his Thursday press conference. “That’s the mindset I want to take out there every fifth day. That’s the mindset I want my teammates to have as well. When I take the mound, I want us to win and [Friday] I want to go out there and win.
“I want to be dominant. I want to have that really good postseason game. I know that I’m capable of doing that and I’m excited to pitch [Friday].”
Price has had really good postseason games in his career, but the next time he has a “dominant” outing in the postseason will be the first. He’s said numerous times that he knows he’s capable of dominating in any spot. There’s no doubt that he has the stuff and ability of a dominant pitcher, no matter the opponent or situation – it just hasn’t quite translated to October success to this point in his career.
“I feel good mentally, I feel good physically, and I’m just excited to pitch [Friday],” Price added.
Whether you think it’s fair or not, facts are facts, and the fact is Price has yet to win a postseason start in his career. He’s had eight chances to do so and done himself no favors most of the time. He’s had some good starts but has never quite put it all together. It still would not be surprising if Price eventually turns in a dominant October performance, as he’s said he is capable of doing.
But that’s the issue – he’s only said that up to this point. It’s time for the $217 million dollar man to go out and do it.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.