BOSTON — The beginning of David Price’s season was wildly disappointing.
The Red Sox gave the left-handed starter a seven-year, $217 million contract this offseason, and by May 7, Price had an ERA of 6.75. But in his 21 starts since then (beginning May 12), Price put up a 3.16 ERA and has been on a roll. And that certainly was the case in Saturday night’s 8-3 win against the Kansas City Royals.
Price moved a little slowly in the first two innings and gave up two runs in the second, but as has been the case of late, the southpaw settled down to hold the Royals from there.
“He’s using his curveball a little bit more, and he’s creating some depth with it,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Price’s late-season success. “He’s able to change some speeds a little bit more frequently. The changeup has got good depth to it as well, so he was able to get some strikeouts and some swing-and-miss (Saturday night). … It’s the offspeed stuff that’s really making a difference for him.”
Price put up a sub-3.00 ERA in July and August, and after giving up two runs over six innings Saturday night, his ERA finally is below 4.00 at 3.97. But Price was never worried about that.
“I haven’t thought about my ERA in a long time,” Price said. “That ship has sailed. I want to go out there and pitch as deep in that ballgame as I can and give up the least amount of runs. I don’t worry about my ERA, I don’t worry about my wins and losses. I want the Red Sox to win every single day, and especially the day that I’m out there.”
His teammates aren’t entirely surprised by his success, either.
“That’s who he is,” shortstop Xander Bogaerts said. “That’s why we got him. Definitely pitched good tonight. We had a three-game losing streak, he definitely stopped that.”
Here are some more notes from Saturday’s win.
— David Ortiz played his 1,000th regular season game at Fenway Park on Saturday, becoming the fifth player in the park’s 104-year history to reach that milestone. He also became the first player in Major League Baseball history to play his 2,000th game as a designated hitter.
— You already knew that Mookie Betts is an incredible young player, but he proved that once again by becoming just the fourth Red Sox player to score 100 runs in a season before the age of 24. The other three are Fred Lynn, Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams.
— Catcher Ryan Hanigan played seven innings Saturday in his first rehab start with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI groundout.
— Dustin Pedroia was 11 for his last 11 before grounding out in the ninth inning. He was one hit shy of tying a Red Sox and MLB record of hitting in 12 consecutive at-bats.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images