Things have been clicking lately for David Price, and it doesn’t take a genius to realize how massively important that is for the Boston Red Sox.
It has been a bumpy campaign for the left-hander these first two months, but he was dialed in Wednesday night in the Sox’s 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
Price allowed just three hits and as many walks over six innings of work, striking out a season-high nine batters while surrendering one run in the no-decision. Two of his innings were 1-2-3 frames, and he managed to keep the opposition from getting past first base until the sixth inning.
Price worked himself into trouble in the sixth, and between that high-leverage frame mixed with him going the distance in his last start, Boston manager Alex Cora elected to end Price’s night, despite the 32-year-old throwing just 90 pitches to that point.
“Excellent. Location, both sides of the plate, the changeup, mixing up pitches. He did an outstanding job,” Cora said following the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “It feels like it’s starting to roll again with the rotation.”
The success the southpaw found was the continuation of a promising trend for Price over his last three starts. Since getting scratched ahead of his scheduled outing against the New York Yankees on May 9 to undergo testing on his hand, he has pitched well and the results have showed, as the Sox have won in all three games. In that stretch, Price has a 2.21 ERA over 20 1/3 innings with 23 strikeouts and six walks while allowing five runs.
With the way Chris Sale and Rick Porcello have thrown this season, having Price come around bolsters the Sox’s rotation in a big way. And while Price’s season already has seen its share of peaks and valleys, it looks like things are trending in the right direction.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Rays:
— The bottom of the Red Sox’s order has faced some challenges this season, but Wednesday was a good showing for the trio of Eduardo Nunez, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vazquez. They combined to go 4-for-11, accounting for all of the Red Sox’s hits except for Xander Bogaerts’ go-ahead double in the ninth inning.
Maybe the most encouraging showing of that group is Bradley, who roped a double to left-center field in the fifth inning that nearly scored Nunez from first base. Bradley is well-known as a streaky hitter, but this season mainly has been defined by offensive lows for the 28-year-old. That said, the center fielder has registered hits in five of his last six games. He has, however, struck out in each of his last 10 games.
Before the game, Cora voiced his support for Bradley and Nunez, saying the center fielder would not be optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, nor would Nunez be placed on the disabled list upon Dustin Pedroia’s impending return.
— After a solid month of April, May has been far less friendly to Hanley Ramirez.
The first baseman is hitting .171 this month, and has grounded into six double plays. He grounded into a double play in Wednesday’s win, however it was with the bases loaded and plated the game’s first run.
— Craig Kimbrel recorded his 15th save of the season, putting the closer in a tie for third-most in Major League Baseball.
The flamethrower’s outing was far less chaotic Wednesday night as well. After loading the bases in the ninth while trying to protect a two-run lead in Tuesday’s victory, Kimbrel instead retired the side in order Wednesday, striking out a pair.