By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — David Price needs to learn how to pitch at Yankee Stadium. And the Yankees in general.
The Red Sox lefty has been phenomenal the second half of the season, and suffered just his first loss since July 1 Wednesday night in New York. The issue is both of those losses have come at the hands of the New York Yankees, as his struggles against Boston’s biggest rival continue. The Yankees touched Price for five hits and six runs over 5.1 innings, with three of those hits leaving the yard. New Yorkers can mostly thank that short porch in Yankee Stadium’s right field for those three pop-up dingers, but they were runs on the board nonetheless in a 10-1 Boston loss.
Only four of Price’s six runs were earned thanks to a costly error by third baseman Eduardo Nunez in the second inning. The Yankees had just taken a 1-0 lead on a solo shot by Miguel Andujar, and it looked like Price had gotten out of a two-on, two-out jam. He got the always-dangerous Aaron Judge to hit a sharp grounder right at Nunez that should have ended the inning, but Nunez let the ball go right through his wickets. Two runs scored to give the Yankees a 3-0 advantage, drastically changing the makeup of the game.
Price gave up another short solo shot to first baseman Luke Voit in the fourth, and an even shorter two-run homer to Voit in the bottom of the sixth, which ended his evening. Price was a bit frustrated at the fact that none of the homers he surrendered went more than 350 feet, but was even more upset at his own lack of location in the loss.
“I left some balls up and they did what you’re supposed to do with those pitches,” said Price, who tied a season-high with four walks on Wednesday. “Anytime you give up a home run it’s frustrating, but everybody is playing in the same park. It’s not like the fences move back when they hit or move forward when they hit. So it’s part of it.”
Yankee Stadium has not been a friendly place to Price during his time with Boston. He’s made six starts in the building in a Red Sox uniform, and he’s lost them all. He’s sporting a 9.79 ERA in those outings, and even more alarming, he’s allowed 13 homers over 30.1 innings.
“I expect to go out there and be great every fifth day,” said Price, who is now 15-7 with a 3.53 ERA on the season. “It doesn’t matter who I’m pitching against or what park I’m pitching in. It just hasn’t been the case here in Yankee Stadium the past year or two. I’ll get over it.”
Overall this season, Price has allowed 18 earned runs in 15.2 innings against the Yankees, with the Bombers taking him out of the park nine times. Nine. Times.
The good news for the Red Sox is should they meet up with the Yankees in the playoffs, Price will start Game 2 at Fenway Park, where he’s 8-2 with a 2.85 ERA. The bad news is he hasn’t been great against the Yankees anywhere while wearing a Boston uniform. He does have one of his finest outings as a member of the Red Sox against the Yankees in Boston, tossing eight shutout innings against them early last season, but overall is 2-1 with a 5.46 ERA against New York at Fenway over the last three seasons. In those games, Price has allowed 17 earned runs in 28 innings.
The last thing Boston fans will want to hear next month is another star pitcher tipping their cap and calling the Yankees his daddy. Price has will have to exorcise his postseason demons this October, and unless the Oakland Athletics knock off the Yankees in the Wild Card game, he’ll have to do it against one of his biggest nemesis.
He’s had a strong bounce-back year after his injury-riddled 2017, but all of that will mean very little if Price struggles again in October — especially against a team in pinstripes.