By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — As recently as early May, the outlook for David Price’s 2018 season did not look very good. He had the issue of numbness in his fingers, but that was the least of his problems. Even when he felt fine, he couldn’t pitch very well.
But Price, to his credit, didn’t panic, didn’t take much time off, and didn’t really say much — even as many in Boston speculated that his “mild carpal tunnel” came as the result of playing too much video games. He just kept punching the clock every five days, and the results over his last seven starts have been dramatically improved.
After allowing just one run over seven innings on Thursday night in Seattle, Price is now 6-0 with a 2.64 ERA and a 1.038 WHIP. He’s struck out 47 batters in that span, while walking just 14 batters. The Red Sox have won all seven games started by Price.
The 32-year-old Price said after Thursday’s win that there’s been no magic change to his game, but he’s just trying to remain consistent.
“I’m just feeling better,” Price said. “Everything is starting to feel better and better day in and day out. So I’ll stick with what we’ve been doing, and hopefully it continues in that direction. My confidence level is always high. It doesn’t matter if I’m struggling or throwing the ball well. I expect to win every fifth day, and we’ve been doing that.”
Of course, Price has not done it all by himself. He had some excellent defense from Xander Bogaerts behind him on Thursday in Seattle, and though the Sox scored just two runs on Thursday, the team has averaged close to five runs per game in Price’s previous six starts. Price shared the credit after Thursday’s victory.
“I really executed pitches when I needed to, really good defensive plays, it was a big hit by Jackie [Bradley Jr.] in that second inning, [Christian Vazquez] had a really good day at the plate, Bogey that was a big home run he hit in [the sixth inning],” Price said. “That ball wasn’t flying well tonight, so he really hit that ball really well. So that was big.”
But Price himself has really turned around his season in a big way. After his start on May 3, he was 2-4 with a 5.11 ERA. He’s currently 8-4 with a 3.44 ERA.
On May 4, Price ranked 79th in the majors in ERA, 72nd in WHIP, 63rd in opponents’ batting average, and tied for 55th in strikeouts. He now currently ranks 41st, 42nd, 33rd, and 31st in those categories, respectively.
It’s not exactly Cy Young-worthy stuff, and when looking at the season as a whole, it’s not even All-Star caliber. But with Chris Sale atop the rotation, the Red Sox don’t need Price to be the best pitcher in the American League. They just need him to be the very good pitcher that he’s more than capable of being. For seven starts at least, Price is well on his way.