In less than a month the Black Ace went from being booed off the mound to immortalized in Boston lore.
The ironic beauty of baseball lies in how quickly one player can go from goat to the golden child.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) October 29, 2018
The legacy of many a player has been shaped and shattered in the playoffs. On October 6th, Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price was on the mound against the Yankees in Game 2 of the ALDS. All anyone talked about was the fact that Price’s teams were 0-9 in his postseason starts. He had gained the reputation of being a poor postseason pitcher, a label no premier pitcher wants to have.
That night, Price’s unfortunate trend of shrinking in the big moment continued. He lasted 1.2 innings and surrendered solo homers to Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez before Andrew McCutchen singled in a run. Five outs and a hook was what he got that night and discussions about his future as a pitcher in that series, and the impending ALCS against the Astros, raged rampant.
Red Sox fans still had high hopes for Boston, but they had all but given up on Price.
David Price Booed Mercilessly by Boston Fans After Another Playoff Failure https://t.co/mNVv0PUPV9
— The Big Lead (@TheBigLead) October 7, 2018
On Sunday, Price had a chance to erase the past and help Boston clinch a World Series. His first pitch of the night was hit over the wall by David Freese, leading to a collective “we knew it” from the Red Sox faithful. But then Price grabbed history by the collar and proceeded to shut the Dodgers down, departing in the 8th with the Red Sox up 5-1 and letting the bullpen do the rest.
It was a redemption song like no other and confirmation that the $217 million contract Price received in 2016 was not a waste. The critics were silenced as Price dominated, won his third straight postseason start and finished the playoffs with a 3-1 record. Gone were the fools saying that he chokes under pressure, in their place excited fans with a new found appreciation of what Price was able to accomplish in his career.
The 32-year-old lefty started Game 2, pitched in relief in Game 3, warmed up twice in Game 4 and started Game 5. His ability to switch from starter to reliever is really unprecedented. His twist of fate is unbelievable, and he became just the fifth pitcher all-time with 6 innings pitched and three hits or fewer in three straight postseason starts.
“Very special moment,” Price told Fox reporters after the game.”This is why I came to Boston. I knew it was a tough place to play and I knew it would be challenging. I’ve been through a lot in the three years since I been here but this is why I came.”
What a turnaround for David Price:
Getting a standing ovation at a visiting stadium — after putting the Red Sox on the brink of another World Series title. pic.twitter.com/Sw1GFNJbGs
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) October 29, 2018
In less than a month, Price went from being booed off the mound to immortalized in Boston lore.
Price has been trying to earn his stripes and his whopping contract since he arrived in Boston. They brought the former Cy Young award winner in to lead the pitching staff and pitch big games just like the one he served up in LA, helping Boston win Game 5 and secure the franchise’s fourth World Series since 2004 and 9th in franchise history.
— Tom Caron (@TomCaron) October 29, 2018
Before Price put his arm, and future, on the line by becoming a rubber-armed workhorse for Boston in these playoffs — serving any role that was needed as if he was an underhand softball pitcher in an old man’s rec league — Price’s playoff past was the one blemish on an otherwise sterling career.
His redemption song started with that second appearance against the Astros in the ALCS. Price threw six scoreless innings and struck out nine and had finally made a viable contribution to the Red Sox in the playoffs.
Then came the World Series where he had two stars of six innings and a gutsy relief effort in an 18-inning Game 3 loss. Two days later in a Game 5 that everyone thought Chris Sale would start, manager Alex Cora turned to his former Cy Young winner, and Price came through, channeling his inner Black Ace to help the Red Sox capture the 2018 World Series title.
David Price in the #WorldSeries
13.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 10 K. pic.twitter.com/X3WgVADHBR
— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) October 29, 2018
When you are one of the superstars of MLB, blessed with a record breaking contract and considered one of the faces of the game, the pressure is always going to flow in your direction. If Price got bombed in this game he would never be able to show his face in Boston again. He’d forever be known as an overpriced, regular season nobody. Sounds harsh but in baseball your salary tag often dictates how much slack the fans will cut you.
Price had run out of space and was on the end of the ledge when he not only found the winning passion deep inside him, but sacrificed his arm for this World Series. A World Series in which Alex Cora becomes the first Puerto Rican manager to win baseball’s coveted championship and despite the back and forth nature of the games, he never broke a sweat.
@ac13alex is a World Series Champion! Congratulations to Alex and the 2018 @RedSox!
Winning a World Series takes a total team effort. The Red Sox had contributions from so many of their top flight ballers, but Game 5 was all about Price. A former perennial playoff loser who you can’t call anything but clutch now. His resume now reads: 20-game winner, Cy Young winner and World Series champion, and he’s now well worth the money spent.