David Price might be a factor in the Boston Red Sox’s pennant race after all.
The left-hander, who hadn’t pitched in a game since a start against the Los Angeles Angels on July 22, made his 2017 debut as a reliever in Boston’s 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. And, while it’s just one game, he looked right at home coming out of the bullpen.
Price threw two perfect innings of relief against the Rays, including a pair of strikeouts. More importantly, neither his command nor his velocity were indicative of a guy who hadn’t pitched in a game in nearly two months.
“Very (encouraged),” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Price’s performance, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “That was even more than I personally anticipated, from the power to the touch-and-feel. I’m amazed that someone can haven’t pitched in a game in nearly seven weeks, and come out with that kind of command and throw three, four pitches for strikes.
“He’s a very unique pitcher, and that was a really strong two innings of work today. … Impressive.”
As good as Price was, the Sox will need to build up his endurance if he’s going to become a factor down the stretch. So when will see him again?
“Not until the end of the Baltimore (Orioles) series, if not Cincinnati (Reds),” Farrell said. “Don’t want to rush something with him. But at the same time, that was a strong two innings of work.”
Ultimately, the Red Sox would be better off having Price in the rotation as they march toward postseason baseball. But that’s not happening. The reality, though, is that Price could become the team’s left-handed weapon out of the bullpen, in the same way that the Cleveland Indians utilize star reliever Andrew Miller.
And, at the end of the day, that could prove just as important.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Rays:
— Right fielder Mookie Betts left Sunday’s game in the fourth inning after suffering a thumb injury during a collision with Rays first baseman Lucas Duda. The injury isn’t considered serious, according to The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham.
— Third baseman Rafael Devers committed his third error in as many games.
— Designated hitter Hanley Ramirez, who continues to deal with biceps soreness, hopes to play in Baltimore, according to Abraham.
— Despite the loss, the Red Sox’s magic number to clinch the American League East lowered to 11 after the New York Yankees lost to the Orioles on Sunday.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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