By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Everything is all good in the world of David Price, according to David Price himself.
The oft-embattled Red Sox starter spoke to Dan Shaughnessy in a brief yet illuminating interview at Fenway Park prior to Wednesday night’s win over the Texas Rangers. And despite his habit of offering sarcastic barbs to the media, Price said he doesn’t listen to anything that anybody in the media says about him.
“Yes,” Price said when Shaughnessy asked him if he can tune out the noise of the critics. “I’m still not a subscriber to whatever papers there are. I don’t know the last time I’ve listened to FM or AM radio.”
That answer fails to explain why Price went on a mini-rant about how he’s “the softest guy in the clubhouse,” and it fails to explain why he’d mockingly say that he’d play a lot of “Fortnite” in order to avoid pitching in the All-Star Game. Those would seemingly be direct responses to criticisms levied at him by the media, responses which would not have been possible if Price had never heard the criticisms.
Nevertheless, Price insisted he loves being in Boston and playing for the Red Sox.
“I don’t have no problem with it. I need to go out there and pitch better,” Price told Shaughnessy. “I’ve never said I’ve hated Boston or had a problem with the fans. That’s a perception that’s put on me through you guys [in the media]. That’s what that is. It’s like when we were in Minnesota and I said I wasn’t deserving of being an All-Star and didn’t think I should be an All-Star, and then all that crap got put out. It turns into that. So write what you want to write.”
OK, but again, Price’s perspective is somewhat warped. After Price’s impressive relief appearance in the postseason last year, reporters asked him multiple times if it felt good to receive an ovation from the home fans. All Price could say was, “It feels good to put up zeros in the playoffs.” When asked again specifically if he was “feeling the love from the fans,” he replied with this: “Yeah, that was a good performance.” Price also welcomed free-agent signee J.D. Martinez to Boston by telling him that he will get booed by the fans in Boston.
All of that came following an offseason where he mockingly insulted his own playoff failures multiple times on Twitter, and a season during which he sparked a controversy by aggressively confronting and insulting team broadcaster and Baseball Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley on a flight, in addition to aggressively confronting reporters after a game.
Clearly, Price has offered up enough evidence that he may not be having the time of his life in Boston. Yet he says any discontent is a media creation.
Moving on, Price was asked a topical question about whether or not he wants to face the Yankees again. He most recently gave up eight runs in 3.1 innings against the Yankees, and he owns a career 4.90 ERA vs. the Yankees. Price, though, said he feels good about his next opportunity to face the division rivals.
“I feel great moving forward for the rest of the season and great facing the Yankees again, whenever that may be. That’s a team I’ve pitched against a lot in my career, probably more than against any team in the big leagues, maybe with the exception of Toronto,” Price told Shaughnessy. “I’ve pitched against both of them a lot and I’ve had some bad games against [the Yankees] a few times. I gave up nine straight hits against them when I was in Detroit in 2015. Nine straight hits. No walks, no sac flies, no hit by pitches, nine straight knocks.”
Not the most inspiring little story, but it actually wasn’t exactly that bad. On April 22, 2015, Price allowed eight earned runs on 10 hits, three walks and a hit-by-pitch while taking the loss and lasting just 2.1 innings. (Price allowed the nine straight hits to the Yankees back in 2014, not 2015. Clearly, the two starts have blended together in his memory.) But, on the plus side, he pitched seven shutout innings in his next change against the Yankees a few months later. In fact, as a member of the Blue Jays, he made four starts vs. the Yankees at the end of that season. He went 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in those four starts.
So, Price has at least proven in the past that one bad start vs. the Yankees doesn’t disqualify him from having some better ones later in the year. Ultimately, that’s what anyone in Boston hopes Price will be able to do. Well — until the playoffs, that is.