It’s been a roller-coaster season so far for David Price, but count Thursday’s start as his 2018 peak to this point.
The Boston Red Sox left-hander spun a gem against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park, giving up two runs on five hits while striking out eight in a complete-game effort during Boston’s 6-2 win.
And it was even better than the numbers suggest.
Price sat at 92 pitches with two outs in the ninth inning when Manny Machado blasted a two-strike, two-run home run to end the left-hander’s shutout effort. Boston’s ace finished off the complete game in 95 pitches, landing in just two three-ball counts and throwing 73 percent strikes in what was one of his best outings in a Red Sox uniform.
The lefty threw 72 fastballs (36 two-seam, 30 cutters and four four-seam) out of his 95 pitches, via BrooksBaseball. He averaged a touch under 94 mph on his four-seam and two-seamers and topped out at 95. Price believes that his fastball was the key to his strong outing against the O’s.
“Very comfortable, that’s what makes it easier out there,” Price said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “You know, I was just keeping them off balance. That was good. For the most part, keeping the first guy off the basepaths that’s always big.
“I used my fastball a lot more today, especially early on. You know, whenever you can go out there and get through a lineup once by using your fastball, you know, it’s in those hitter’s minds. It makes everything better by being able to locate it by where I was trying to go with it and that was a key for today.”
Price also excelled in pounding the lower half of the strike zone, especially down and in to right-handed hitters.
As for the home run to end his chance at a “Maddux,” Price just tipped his cap to a great hitter.
“You know, that was a big spot and I just didn’t execute that pitch the way that I should have and Manny is Manny and he did that.”
Price now has allowed just five runs in his last two starts (14 1/3 innings) and appears to be regaining the dominant form he showed during the beginning of the season.
Here are more notes from Red Sox-Orioles:
— Thursday marked just the second time that Price and Chris Sale won games on back-to-back nights.
— Mookie Betts has six multi-hit games in his last eight contests. He’s hitting .429 over that time frame.
— The Red Sox now are 30-14 on the season, their best record through 44 games since 2007.
— Red Sox pitchers now have a 2.89 ERA when throwing to Sandy Leon and a 4.01 ERA when throwing to Christian Vazquez.
— Xander Bogaerts hit a three-run home run for the second straight game.
— J.D. Martinez went 1-for-3 with a home run but left with a stomach issue in the sixth inning.
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