David Price was excellent in his first two starts this season. He did not allow a single earned run and struck out 10 batters while walking only three across 14 innings. As he stepped to the mound against the New York Yankees on Wednesday, he had a real chance to prove to those of you that still don’t believe that he’s back.
Unfortunately, that’s not what happened, as he allowed four runs in just one inning during which he threw 35 pitches. He was then taken out of the game with an issue with his hand. More specifically, the problem was with his fingers and a loss of feeling in them. While allowing four runs, especially to a heated division rival, isn’t great, there should be more worry about the possible health implications than the tough outing itself. But how worried should Red Sox fans be?
According to most reports, not very at all, as he is expected to start on Tuesday like normal. Price and the Sox have maintained that he was just having trouble with numbness in his pitching fingers and that he’ll be just fine for that next start. That’s excellent to hear and isn’t totally unreasonable. With how terrible the weather has been in the beginning of the season, there’s every reason to believe that he was just having trouble getting a grip on his pitches. Temperatures at Fenway Park got into the 30s on Wednesday, which is far from optimal pitching conditions. This is in no way an excuse. Chris Sale struck out eight across six innings the night before when temperatures were in a similar place, but if Price’s fingers were already feeling off, the cold weather wouldn’t have done anything to help him in an already rough outing.
That numbing certainly had an effect on his effectiveness, but it also diluted his velocity. His four seam fastball averaged 92.29 miles per hour on Wednesday, which was down from the 93.46 and 93.11 he had in his first two starts, respectively. His velocity was also down on his sinker, changeup and cutter. Now, game-to-game velocity variance, especially of such a small degree, isn’t anything to get out of sorts about, especially since Price was getting more horizontal movement on his fastball and changeup. But if this hand issue lingers...
Stop it. Really, this was just one bad game and based on everything we’re hearing, can be partially blamed on a minor physical issue, but not a structural one. Things would have been a lot worse if he came out with pain in his elbow or something of that sort. For now, this seems more like a one-game blip exacerbated by the weather conditions. Now let’s get some spring conditions going so we can agonize on each individual start without freezing our fingers off.
Price is going to start on Tuesday and Brian Johnson will take the hill on Monday. (Christopher Smith; MassLive)
Its an unenviable situation being a catcher when a batter might charge the mound. (Peter Abraham; Boston Globe)
Joe Kelly is now a hero in New England. (Cam Ellis; BP Boston)
The brawl from Wednesday has the whole baseball world stoked about the return of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry. The excitement is so high that the minutia of the brawl is being broken down. (Whitney McIntosh; SB Nation)
A letter from the Red Sox’s attorney has kicked the can down the road on the renaming of Yawkey Way. (Dan Atkinson; Boston Herald)
If you haven’t heard of Darwinzon Hernandez yet, you may want to catch yourself up. (Alex Speier; Boston Globe)