CLEVELAND -- Boston Red Sox starter David Price has been one of the more dominant pitchers in Major League Baseball since he was the No. 1 overall pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2007 MLB Entry Draft out of Vanderbilt University.
But despite his regular-season successes, including being a 19- and 20-game winner with Tampa Bay, Price has struggled in the postseason, especially in 2015, when he allowed 16 runs, all of which were earned, over 23.1 innings of work in four games for Toronto.
Knowing that he will take the mound against the Cleveland Indians for Game 2 of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field this afternoon with his team in an 0-1 hole after Thursday’s 5-4 loss, Price is in “prove-it” mode.
“I want to help this team win, that’s the bottom line,” Price said. “That’s the mindset I want to take out there on the fifth day, and that’s the mindset I want my teammates to have as well.
“I take the mound, I want us to win, and I want to go out there and win. I want to be dominant. I want to have that really good postseason game, and I know that I’m capable of doing that, and I’m excited to pitch.”
After signing a $217 million contract with the Red Sox in the offseason, Price made 35 starts during the regular season and threw a career-high 230.0 innings.
Price allowed 227 hits and 106 runs, 102 of which were earned. Despite striking out 228 hitters, Price surrendered 30 home runs and had an earned run average of 3.99, which is the highest since his second year in the majors in 2009.
“Inconsistent,” Price said when asked to describe his regular season. “I didn’t throw the baseball the way that I know I can throw it. Over the course of 32, 33 starts, I didn’t do that. I got off to a very bad start after Opening Day.
“It took me awhile to rebound from that, but I felt like I did. I threw the ball a lot better in the second half of the year, and I feel good. I feel good mentally, physically, and I’m excited to pitch.”
Although Price found a good rhythm in the second half of the season, there is still the matter of playoff baseball.
In 14 appearances, including eight starts, over six trips to the postseason, Price has allowed 62 hits and 38 runs, 36 of which were earned, over 63.1 innings of work. He has surrendered 11 home runs and 12 walks and has an ERA of 5.12.
Yet, coming into Game 2, Price denies putting too much pressure on himself to succeed in the postseason.
“I just didn’t throw the baseball well, and that’s all on me,” Price said. “It’s not the added pressure or pitching in Boston, anything like that. Trying to pitch up to my contract, it wasn’t any of those things. I just didn’t throw the baseball well, and I moved forward from that, and I don’t think about that stuff.”