By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — David Price doesn’t seem aware of what he did last Friday in Cleveland. He doesn’t seem to understand why he’s getting so much heat for his heinous postseason history. And he seems awfully preoccupied with winning the hearts of Red Sox fans.
But there’s only one way for him to win over Red Sox Nation, and that’s to win in October.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the Red Sox got swept out of the postseason by the Cleveland Indians, Price expressed confidence in his ability to pitch better next season – and earn the adoration of Red Sox fans.
“I know everyone in this clubhouse thinks we should still be playing right now. That’s not the way it happened, but I’ll be prepared for 2017,” said Price. “I’m going to make these fans love me, and I’ve got six more years to do it.”
David Ortiz knows what it’s like to win fans over and be a beloved figure in Boston sports, but Price doesn’t seem aware of how Ortiz made that happen. He didn’t do it by being nice to everyone, grinning, acting like everything’s going to be OK. He smashed hit after hit in the postseason and led the Red Sox to three World Series championships. That’s why Papi is beloved. The key to getting fans to embrace you is to not care whether they do or not.
Just go out and do your job when it matters the most, and all that other stuff will take care of itself. Price thinks, and cares, too much about things other than just pitching better.
Price doesn’t even seem to understand that he pitched poorly. He called the fastball he threw to the Indians’ Lonnie Chisenhall a “good pitch.” Doesn’t matter if the pitch itself was perfect, giving a bottom-of-the-order lefty even a chance to hit the ball out of the ballpark is unacceptable, especially in October. Even if you truly believe you executed the pitch the way you wanted in that spot, you don’t come out and say that after letting up a three-run home run and blowing yet another postseason start. (Price is 0-8 as a starter in his postseason career, with two wins as a reliever.)
Price needs to stop saying he’s going to pitch better and worry more about actually doing it. Maybe just avoid speaking to the media altogether at this point, because when he goes out there and puts up another October clunker he’s only making it worse by saying after the game that he knows good things are coming in the future. What about tonight???
Price has six more years to win Red Sox Nation over, with a chance to opt out after year three. He’s off to a horrible start doing that, and the only way to really get over the hump is to just pitch better in big spots and let go of everything else.
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.