BOSTON (CBS) — Though there have been some cheeky takes about Rick Porcello being the “ace” of the Red Sox pitching staff, David Price proved Tuesday night that his role as the staff horse should have never been in doubt.
Not that there really was any uncertainty about Price’s status, but he has gotten off to a rocky start, and in some cases it could not have looked worse for him. Price’s previous start against the Tampa Bay Rays and their league-worst offense was particularly unsightly, as he allowed eight runs and couldn’t get out of the fourth inning.
Price could not have rebounded better against the Atlanta Braves (albeit, another phenomenally weak lineup), racking up 14 strikeouts in eight innings. He said after the game that he doesn’t care how he gets guys out as long as he pitches deep into games.
“I don’t care about strikeouts, man,” Price told Ian Browne of MLB.com. “That doesn’t mean anything to me. I want to go out there and pitch as deep as I can into baseball games. I want to get 27 outs every five days. Twenty-four is good.”
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High strikeouts can easily lead to higher pitch counts; Price threw a season-high 114 pitches in the win. He said feels ready to start pitching as well as he did Tuesday night with more consistency.
“I needed it. … To go out there and to throw the baseball the way I’m capable of throwing it, everybody needs that.”
The most important takeaway from Price’s gem is that, while his ugly outing against the Rays justifiably raised some eyebrows, there’s no need for legitimate concern as long as Price is taking the ball every five days. Questions about how he would perform should the Red Sox get to October, however, are understandable.
But as Price’s career numbers bear out, he tends to start seasons going up-and-down before settling in as the weather warms up. His start against the Braves lowered his career ERA in March & April to 3.70, but he has a 2.96 career ERA in every other month of the regular season.
Any real concerns about Price’s start should definitely be put aside. Dust those questions off if the Red Sox get to mid-October, but for now they should not be raised.