David Price has been mocked for years as a pitcher who cannot pitch in the postseason. He joined the Red Sox with the intention of changing that narrative. In his introductory press conference Price said, “I’m ready to be a Red Sox and I’m ready to help this team and this city win.” Three years later Price has accomplished that goal. He was a vital member of the 2018 Boston Red Sox, pitching in the clinching game of the ALCS, as well as the last game of the World Series.
Price has had a lot of up and downs in his career, especially for a player that has a good chance of ending up in the Hall of Fame. His path to victory started as a freshman at Vanderbilt, where Price nearly quit after getting shelled in an intrasquad preseason scrimmage. His plan was to drop out of college and work at a local McDonalds… not kidding.
“It was definitely kind of out there, but I couldn’t laugh because he was so serious,” said esteemed Vanderbilt Head Coach Tim Corbin. Corbin was able to convince Price to stay in school, which turned out to be a great call. Two seasons later David Price would be the number one overall pick in the 2007 MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Price flew through the farm system and made the Rays MLB roster on Sept. 14, 2008. He was moved to the bullpen as a rookie and was able to throw 2.1 IP of shutout ball. He was pivotal in game seven of the ALCS to beat the Red Sox and reach the World Series.
In the following years David Price would become a household name as one of the best pitchers in baseball. Since his rookie year Price has appeared on five All-Star teams, lead the American League in ERA twice, and took home the Cy Young Award as the best pitcher in the American League. He played for the Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays, and now resides with the Boston Red Sox. He found success on each team, but had one flaw he could not shake. His inability to perform in the postseason.
Going into the 2018 postseason, Price held a 2-8 playoff record, with a 5.05 ERA. He started game two of the ALDS against the Yankees and got roughed up immediately, giving up three earned runs in only 1.2 innings pitched. It looked like it was going to be another tough postseason for David Price. Writers were calling for his head and demanding he does not enter another playoff game in a Red Sox uniform. Manager Alex Cora wisely ignored the media and stuck with his guy. His trust in the lefty paid off big time the rest of the way. After that rough game in the Bronx Price went 3-0 with a 2.61 ERA and closed out two of the biggest games in franchise history, including the last game of the World Series.
Price finally got to celebrate after getting attacked by the media for roughly a decade. This was a major triumph for a guy who had been well regarded as one of the best teammates in the league and nicest guys in the game. In his postgame press conference after Game Five of the World Series, Price talked about having to deal with the hate about his postseason struggles,
“To answer that question, in spring training, day in day out, over and over and over … I hold all the cards now, and that feels so good. I can’t tell you how good it feels to hold that Trump card. You guys have had it for a long time, you’ve played that card extremely well, but you don’t have it anymore. None of you do. And that feels really good.”
Price has decided to opt-in to his contract, making him a Boston Red Sox through 2022. He finally has proven himself in the postseason and can go into 2019 with all the weight off his shoulders.
Scott Neville – Head Baseball Writer – WTF Sports