It’s been a rollercoaster ride for the Red Sox pitcher, but he’s emerging as a leader when they need him the most.
The Red Sox signed David Price for 7 years and 217 million dollars prior to the 2016 season. He was underwhelming in 2016, and injury-riddled in 2017. However, in 2018, Price was able to overcome both the pressure of playing of Boston and his playoff demons, en route to an AL Comeback Player of the Year title and a World Series ring.
After a 2015 season where the Red Sox finished in last place and gave up the 5th most runs in the MLB largely due to the absence of an ace, the Red Sox decided that signing a five time all-star, reigning AL Cy Young winner, and two time ERA champion could propel the team from worst to first, again. It didn’t quite work out that way, as Price struggled through the first half, and Rick Porcello became the team’s ace. A strong second half (3.58 ERA) gave fans hope and allowed Price to lead the MLB in innings pitched and put up 228 strikeouts, fourth in the AL. He continued his playoff issues in the ALDS however, giving up five runs in just three and one thirds innings to the Cleveland Indians, bringing his playoff record as a starter to 0-8.
The next year Price promised that he would make Boston fans proud, something that most of us sniffed at after the Sox didn’t win a single playoff game the year before. We all rolled our eyes when he went on the DL before he made a single start. Lashing out at reporters and a certain Dennis Eckersley incident did not help his popularity either. He would eventually come back and spend most of his appearances coming out of the bullpen. He even tossed 6.2 scoreless innings in relief during the playoffs. The Red Sox didn’t dish out $31 million that year for less than 75 innings though, and Price’s second season only solidified the fans’ belief that his signing was a bust.
In 2018, the fanbase was optimistic. We had a new manager in Alex Cora and a proven slugger in J.D. Martinez. We believed that J.D., Betts, Kimbrel, Benintendi, and Sale would lead the Sox into World Series contention. David Price, the $217 million man, was quickly forgotten among a team of all-stars and rising phenoms. He quietly put together a strong season(3.58 ERA), and when Sale started having shoulder problems in July, Price stepped up and lead the Sox to a 108 win season and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Price lead the rotation during the postseason as well, shutting out the defending champion Houston Astros for six innings and winning the clinching game of the ALCS. Price won game 2 of the World Series as well, holding the high powered Dodgers to just two runs over six innings and giving the Sox a decisive 2-0 series lead. In game 5, Cora turned to Price, not Sale to finish off the series, despite the fact that Sale had a day more of rest. Price rewarded his rookie manager with a gem, spinning seven innings of one run ball and clinching a World Series title.
Now in 2019, amidst a turbulent start for the rotation, Price has been the sole figure of stability, currently holding the lowest ERA in the rotation by over two runs.
David Price once promised that he would please us fans. Now, into his fourth season, he is finally becoming the ace that the Red Sox signed him to be.