Okay, we get it.
The Boston Red Sox are a good baseball team, perhaps they’re a really good baseball team.
One thing is certain. They’re in the midst of what can only be described as a memorable week.
Thursday night, all eyes were on David Price, and Price stepped up and gave everyone (except the Houston Astros) exactly what they wanted.
Boston’s red-hot bats were on-hand to score runs in bunches.
Four games in a row the Red Sox have scored 10 or more runs. Twice the opposing starting pitcher was his team’s top starter.
Monday the Red Sox needed only 3.2 innings to score seven earned runs off of A’s ace Sonny Gray. Thursday night the Red Sox hammered reigning AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel for eight earned runs over six innings.
As for David Price? This was not just what Price wanted to see, it was what the Red Sox and their fans yearned for.
This was the guy who the Red Sox ponied up $217 million for.
The Astros are off to an abysmal start. Second baseman Jose Altuve is probably the only player playing above expectations. Altuve was 2-for-3 against Price. The rest of the Astros lineup was 4-for-24 (.167 average.)
Price was fairly efficient, throwing 113 pitches before being lifted for Junichi Tazawa with two outs in the top of the seventh. After enduring what has been the roughest start to a season of his career, Price’s outing on Thursday may represent a turning point.
His velocity, which had been down, was actually up a tick. According to the Fenway Park radar gun Price’s fastball was consistently clocked in the 93-95 mile per hour range. That’s a definite uptick from his previous performances this season.
Price wasn’t totally dominant. He only had two 1-2-3 innings, and the leadoff man got on base in three of the seven innings Price started.
Considering that he had allowed six or more earned runs in three of his previous four starts, Price’s Thursday night outing definitely was a massive improvement. He had his third double-digit strikeout night of the season, and it came against an offense that can score some runs.
Price’s season hasn’t been devoid of great individual starts. He pitched eight innings, allowed two earned runs and struck out 14 Atlanta Braves back on April 26th. On April 16th against the Blue Jays, Price pitched seven innings, allowed two earned runs and struck out nine.
The problem is that not only has Price failed to string together back-to-back good starts, the in-between starts have been uncharacteristically bad.
As great as Thursday night’s performance was, as encouraging as Price’s increased velocity and effectiveness was, it can’t be called a real turnaround until he shows that he can sustain his effectiveness over more than one start.
That makes Tuesday’s start on the road against the reigning World Series Champion Kansas City Royals a fairly big start.
He doesn’t need to throw a no-hitter or strikeout 10 batters, but he does need to demonstrate that he can maintain a degree of effectiveness and consistency that has evaded him thus far this season.
Friday night the Red Sox will look to continue their all-out assault on major league pitching. Jackie Bradley Jr has an 18-game hitting streak going. The team’s streak of double-digit scoring is the longest in the majors since the 2007 Red Sox rolled-off 46 runs over a four game sweep of the Chicago White Sox from August 24-26.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright (3-3, 1.52) gets the start for the Red Sox. Lance McCullers has been recalled from the minors to start for the Astros. McCullers hasn’t started a game for the Astros this season, last season he was 6-7, with a 3.22 earned run average.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 pm ET.