BOSTON (CBS) — As much as we would love to be the story here in the world of the self-important Boston media, let’s put aside the Us vs. Him mentality that is now a part of the David Price story and has been from the very beginning. The pot has boiled over, as the saying goes, and there’s really no point in cleaning it up.
What matters is how Price pitches.
And last night, he smelled.
If you’re keeping score – and don’t we always? – that’s now three starts for Price since he returned from the elbow ailment that sidelined him for the first two months of the season: one decent, one good, one bad. The last came less than 24 hours after Price had a meltdown in the Red Sox clubhouse and generally blistered the Boston media, an act which is entirely acceptable so long as he silences the opposition.
Actually, it’s fine either way. Price can do what he wants, say what he wants or not say anything at all.
But the pitching?
Sorry, no compromises there.
The Red Sox brought Price here to pitch well, win, and be an ace. It took them one season – one – to determine that he needed help. That’s why they went out and traded for Chris Sale.
Tell you what: let’s toss out last night, as bad and unsightly as it was, and look at the whole picture. Price has started 39 regular-season and postseason games as a member of the Red Sox and the team is 21-18 in those games. His ERA is 4.21. That’s a big sample now – certainly big enough – and there is really no manipulation of data. Price’s ERA last season was 3.99, the highest of his career during any season in which he has qualified for the ERA title. He failed in the postseason. And after Dave Dombrowski insisted last October that Price could win in the playoffs, the Red Sox president of baseball operations went out and acquired Sale.
Please, no more talk about how Price led the American League in innings last year. Rick Porcello takes the ball every five days, too, and he makes a lot less than Price does. The Red Sox acquired Porcello to be a stable, durable middle-of-the-rotation starter and that is generally what he has been.
Also, let’s clear something up here: Price is a respectful, thoughtful, decent man who is a good teammate. Nobody disputes this. The question from the beginning was whether he was mentally and emotionally capable of handling both the biggest pitching contract in history and his playoff failures in a psycho place like ours. That’s it. Price came in from the very beginning and said he merely wanted to fit in on the staff, which was both a good sign and a bad one. It’s means he didn’t want to big-time teammates. It also suggested he lacked understanding.
The Red Sox didn’t bring in Price to “fit in,” after all. They brought him in to lead. They brought him in to be different than everyone else. They brought him in to win.
As we all know, Price has an opt-out in his contract after next season. Earlier this spring, when he seemed destined for Tommy John surgery, that possibility seemed doomed. Maybe it still is. But if Price has somehow dodged a bullet here, if he is truly back on the mound for good now, his fate rests in his hands. If Price can pitch well between now and the end of 2018, if he can stay healthy, he can still opt out and recoup all or even more of his money, the Red Sox can still make a run at a world championship, and everyone can get exactly what they wanted in the first place.
The media? The interviews? The politics?
Just pitch, David.
And we’ll try to say this as politely as possible.
Just shut up and pitch.