The Boston Red Sox were poised to have a loaded bullpen in 2017, but no one expected David Price to be a part of that unit.
The left-hander’s start to the season was delayed due to a nagging elbow injury, which was reaggravated a few months later. In search of a better way to utilize Price, the Red Sox moved him to the bullpen, and the decision has paid off and then some.
Price’s dominance in a relief role continued Sunday afternoon in the Red Sox’s 10-3 win over the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the American League Division Series. The five-time All-Star tossed four scoreless innings in which he only allowed four hits and one walk while striking out four.
The Red Sox first turned to Price out of the bullpen in mid-September, and it’s been nothing but success for the veteran lefty since. In seven relief appearances this season, Price has logged 15 1/3 scoreless innings in which he’s struck out 19, with opponents only batting a mere .145 against him.
One of the biggest knocks against Price has been his inability to perform in the playoffs. He certainly bucked this trend in Game 3, albeit in a relief role. That doesn’t matter to Price, though, as his primary goal simply is to help the team win.
“It feels good to put up zeroes in the playoffs,” Price said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “That’s why I signed here. I knew we had a good team, I knew we had a good team for a long time. This is the second year I’ve been here, and to win back-to-back A.L. East titles, we’re moving in the right direction. I think we all understand how good of a team we have in this clubhouse.”
Price appears to have revitalized himself out of the bullpen, but he believes he could feature similar success in a starting role, too.
“I can do this as a starter, too, I just haven’t done it yet. Period,” he said. “Pitching suits me well and that’s what I did. It has nothing to do with relieving or starting, I just threw the ball well today.”
Price added that he “would love” to start a game in the playoffs this season, but noted he’s yet to have a conversation with manager John Farrell about it. Judging by Boston’s recent starting pitching struggles, it might be worth giving Price a shot.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Astros:
— Sunday marked Boston’s first postseason victory since winning the World Series in 2013.
— Price’s relief outing was the longest by a Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez hurled six frames in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians.
— Rafael Devers belted a two-run home run in the third inning, becoming the youngest Red Sox to go yard in a postseason game at 20 years old.
— Hanley Ramirez went 4-for-4 at the plate, marking just the 15th four-hit performance in Red Sox playoff history.
— Boston’s 15 hits in Game 3 were the most in a playoff game since Game 3 of the 2007 World Series against the Colorado Rockies.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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