BOSTON — There were some promising developments that came out of David Price’s start Tuesday night, but the Red Sox ace wasn’t interested in hearing them.
Price lasted eight innings against the Texas Rangers and struck out 10 batters while walking one. It was his fifth eight-inning start of the season and fourth in his last six games, and his 130 strikeouts this season lead the American League.
Yet those encouraging stats were overshadowed by a rough first inning and a pair of mistakes in the sixth that sent Price to his sixth loss of the season — and fifth in his last seven starts — as the Rangers pulled away for a 7-2 win at Fenway Park.
“There’s nothing positive to point at right now,” a frustrated Price said after the game. “I threw 50 pitches through two (innings), still went eight, we still lost. It doesn’t matter. I’ve got to be better. That’s why they brought me here, and I’m not doing it right now.”
If Price’s refrain sounds familiar, that’s because the five-time All-Star struck a similar tune after allowing four runs to the lowly Tampa Bay Rays in his previous appearance. Price actually lowered his ERA to 4.64 after Tuesday’s outing but still has yet to recapture the ace-like form that won him the AL Cy Young award in 2012.
“I haven’t executed,” Price said. “That’s the bottom line. My stuff is fine. I’m fine. I’m just not executing.”
The 30-year-old veteran has struggled in the early innings this season, and that trend continued Tuesday night. Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo hit Price’s first offering of the night out of the park for a home run, and the left-hander allowed five of the first eight batters he faced to reach base while surrendering two runs.
Price now has allowed 12 first-inning runs in 18 starts this season.
He managed to settle down after his rocky start but faltered again in the sixth, when Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor delivered back-to-back hits to break a 2-2 tie.
“They got to him early,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Price. “After that, he settled into a very strong eight innings of work. He became much more efficient — decent power to his fastball, swing and miss to his changeup — but a couple of runs early.”
Three earned runs over eight innings is a decent enough outing, and on most nights that would be enough for the Red Sox’s high-powered offense. But Price knows the Red Sox didn’t bring him to Boston to make “decent” outings, and his frustration was on full display in the wake of Tuesday’s loss.
“I’m tired of this,” he said. “It’s not me, and I’ve got to get better.”
Tuesday marked Price’s last start before the All-Star break, giving him the chance to hit the reset button as he aims to turn things around in the second half of the season.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Price said. “I’ve put a lot of time, put a lot of effort, put a lot of work into what I do. It’s gotten me to where I’m at right now. It’s not happening right now, but I know that it will, and it’s going to feel that much better whenever it does.”
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images