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It's time for David Price to step up, or sit down

Is David Price fixed? Or is the leg lift just so much noise? The Red Sox will have a pretty good idea after tonight.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard all about David Price fixing his delivery, with Dustin Pedroia's hawk eyes apparently spotting an issue with his leg lift. After a bullpen session, everyone involved seems to be on board with the idea that Boston's ace is fixed. Huzzah!

Honestly, though, I'll believe it when I see it.

These stories pop up all the time when a player that nobody was worried about headed into the season struggles to start the year. And while sometimes the problem discovered proves very real and does fix everything, as often as not its only effect is to calm a few nerves for a week.I do not mean to suggest that anyone is lying in these situations. Only that those who are hoping to find an easy fix to a larger problem might be prone to mistake any change, significant or otherwise, for the big underlying issue.

For David Price, Red Sox fans really have to hope that Pedroia has hit paydirt, because man, it's been rough. Yes, there's the gaudy peripherals to reassure us all that, no, this ace isn't just a bust. But between all the hard contact and the velocity drop that has, by this point, lasted too long to just be the result of cool early-season weather, there's no denying that something is off with Price. The only question is if it's Price's leg lift, some other mechanical flaw, or an injury.

If it's the first? Great! We'll probably get a pretty good idea of that tonight. He'll go head-to-head with another struggling ace in Dallas Keuchel tonight against a fairly strong Astros lineup. He doesn't have to be perfect, but he has to be a lot better against a solid Astros offense than he was against the shambling corpse that is New York's.

If it's the second or third, though, and Price gets teed off on yet again, the Red Sox will probably have to start thinking about making a change. Price insists he isn't hurt, and I'm sure he's not feeling anything particularly bad or he'd speak up. But not all injuries are obvious, and if he's still sporting an ERA of around 6.75 after his eighth start, it might be time to start doing some tests. Or, indeed, to consider shutting him down for a brief period. Hell, that will even help to free up rotation space for the starters returning from the disabled list (because whether you or I like it or not, the Joe Kelly experiment probably isn't over just yet).

So yes, even as early as May 12, it's a big night for David Price. He needs to show that he's the pitcher he was, and not the pitcher he has been since coming to Boston. That this leg lift problem is actually important, and not just a sugar pill that's effects last right up until its proven there's nothing to them.

The Red Sox need David Price to be David Price, and if he can't be that tonight, then it will be time for them to stop simply sitting around and waiting for the transformation to occur.