Time to Stop Wondering if David Price is an Ace

When David Price signed a 7-year, $217 million dollar contract with the Boston Red Sox in the off-season, he immediately took over the title of “ace”. The front office brought Price¬†to Boston to lead a much criticized starting staff and provide the anchor the Sox haven’t had since Jon Lester signed with the Chicago Cubs. Yet Price struggled to start the season. In his first five starts, Price pitched to a 5.76 ERA in only 29.2 innings pitched. Some began to question if David Price is an ace.

The low point of his first month in Boston came against his former team, the Tampa Bay Rays. Price gave up eight runs, and did not last through¬†the fourth inning. Many in the Boston media were critical of the signing due to its length and Price’s postseason numbers. However, no one expected him to be out-pitched by Steven Wright and have an ERA north of five to begin his tenure.

Leave David Price Alone

Following that poor start, Price has been lights-out in his last eight outings, a large enough sample size to assume he has righted the ship. Still, some in the Boston media are heaping unfair criticism onto Price. His last eight starts have all been against above average offenses: the Houston Astros, the Kansas City Royals, the Colorado Rockies, the Toronto Blue Jays twice, the San Francisco Giants, the Baltimore Orioles , and the Seattle Mariners. Price didn’t allow more than four runs in any of those starts, and allowed fewer than three in five of the eight. He also threw at least seven innings in six of the eight. However, Price is only 5-3 in those starts because of one thing, and one thing only: poor run support.

In the three losses, the Red Sox offense scored two runs, one run, and two runs. Before winning 2-1 on Sunday against the Mariners, Price suffered bad luck loses against San Francisco and Baltimore by allowing late inning home runs to Brandon Belt, Mac Williamson, and Jonathan Schoop, respectively. Right on cue, Boston radio personalities Tony Massarotti, Jim Murray, and Jon Wallach whined about Price giving up late innings home runs, and repeated the tired rhetoric that aces win close games and don’t give up late-inning home runs.

David Price is an Ace

Home runs in baseball happen, especially against the best competition in the Major Leagues. Late-inning home runs in close games aren’t ideal, but if Price received any kind of run support in those two games, the home runs become footnotes instead of headlines. When a starting pitcher gives up fewer than three, his team should win, period. Price is leading the AL in strikeouts, and his last eight starts has proven he’s the ace the Red Sox paid for. His last start against the Mariners, in which he gave up a home run in a close game but won, proved he’s an ace.

Price’s average fastball velocity is down from 94 to about 92, but his command is still elite. Price has been routinely locating his fastball and cutter on both sides of the plate with pinpoint accuracy all season. He has shown the ability to get the best hitters in the world out, even with diminished stuff. Nobody can ask for anything more from an ace. David Price is an ace, so please leave him alone.

Should pitchers be allowed to compete in the Home Run Derby? in LastWordOnSports’s Hangs on LockerDome

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