❚ David Price, Steve Pearce: Unlikely superheros,
LOS ANGELES – Apparently, David Price can pitch in the postseason. Apparently, David Price can pitch every day in the postseason.
Price started and won Game 2 of the World Series. He got two outs in relief in Game 3. He warmed up in the bullpen for a potential appearance in Game 4. And in Game 5, he turned in his masterpiece, holding the Dodgers to three hits and one run over seven innings to carry the Red Sox to a championshipclinching 5-1 win.
“He was dominant,” World Series MVP Steve Pearce said after the game. “We love when he’s on the mound. When he takes it, he’s a bulldog. He competes. And I couldn’t be any happier for him. It was an awesome performance, and he shut one of the best teams down, and he pitched in a game-clinching World Series game. That’s the guy we want on the mound, and he delivered.”
“He was available the whole time — the whole time — from the Division Series to the Championship Series to the World Series,” manager Alex Cora said. “There was a text: ‘I’m ready for tomorrow. Count on me. Use me.’
“I’m very proud of him.” As recently as a couple of weeks ago, few would have imagined Price as a 2018 World Series hero. Though long one of the best pitchers in the majors in the regular season, the 33year-old entered October with a reputation for postseason meltdowns and did little to shake it in his first two playoff outings.
After he allowed three runs in a 12⁄3-inning Game 2 start against the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series, Price was greeted with ironic cheers and “M-V-P” chants at Yankee Stadium. After a shaky outing in Game 2 of the AL Championship Series against the Houston Astros, Price owned a 6.16 ERA and a 0-9 record in 11 career postseason starts.
But while playing catch with Red Sox catching coordinator Jason Varitek before Game 4, Price tweaked the positioning of his hands during his delivery, a change he said helped correct his timing and allowed him to “get that good angle on the baseball.”
On short rest, the left-hander threw six scoreless innings in ALCS Game 5 to help the Sox secure the AL pennant. He maintained his momentum in a sixinning, two-run win in Game 2 of the World Series and again in the deciding Game 5. Price now is 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA over his last three postseason starts.
“My confidence was never altered, through however many seasons I’ve been to the playoffs, however many times I’ve failed in October, however many times I failed in the regular season or against the Yankees,” Price said. “I always had belief in myself and my abilities. To be able to come through on this stage and in October for myself and for my teammates, I know I can do it now.”
Price has had a somewhat tumultuous relationship with the Red Sox’s media and fan base since he joined the club on a seven-year, $217 million free agent deal before the 2016 season. Players with huge contracts tend to draw outsized criticism, and as recently as the ALDS, Boston sports talk radio was abuzz with chatter that the Sox should eat most of Price’s contract so they could trade him and his postseason struggles.
“This is why I came to Boston,” Price said. “This is what I envisioned ... It took longer than I hoped it would, longer than I expected it to, but to have this feeling right now, it was all worth it.”
David Price shows off the World Series trophy.