By MyFM's Jake Archer - It's tough to know what to think of David Price. At times, he is a total dumpster fire of bad pitching and bad soundbites. Other times, he's showing why he's been one of the league's best starting pitchers for most of his career. Last night, he stepped up and pitched possibly his best game as a member of the Boston Red Sox and now I'm back to feeling a very cautious optimism for him.
On a day that was supposed to be an off-day, the Sox had to welcome in the Orioles for a now four-game set due to a rainout earlier this year on Patriot's Day. That means they will literally play every single day this month minus a day off that happened in New York and one that will happen next week in Tampa Bay. No matter though, because they only had to face off with the lowly Orioles and their own frustrating starting pitcher, Kevin Gausman.
Gausman has actually been pitching well so far this year, but there's just something about him that is hard to trust. He lacks what I would call, pitching (or just baseball in general) intelligence. That's why, when the Sox bullied him last night, I wasn't surprised at all.
In the bottom of the first, Gausman allowed Mookie Betts to single and then steal second base. This would become a trend, so pay attention. After two outs were recorded, JD Martinez stepped up and slugged his 13th homerun of the season. JD has been unreal and somehow underappreciated this year. He moved into a tie for the league lead in ding dongs with Betts and Manny Machado, the man standing at shortstop for the Orioles. He also tied Machado in RBIs with 38. I'd say this guy has been worth the money, and makes Dave Dombrowski look real smart for passing on GianKarlo Stanton.
The Sox struck again in the fifth, when Jackie Bradley Jr. (who has seen his batting average keep dipping and his playing time go down) walked and then stole a base. This was the second time that Gausman had thrown over only to have someone just keep running and steal second. The Sox were getting huge jumps on him and it was like he wasn't even paying attention! To have it happen once was tough but twice is downright embarassing.
Betts came back up and singled for his third hit of the night, and then Benintendi lifted a sac-fly to right to make it 3-0 Boston. With Hanley at the plate, Gausman threw over to first and again someone was taking off and stealing second! It was Betts and he had swiped another bag by just reading Gausman and noticing that he was in his own little world out on the mound. The camera pans to Orioles manager Buck Showalter were priceless. Boston was just laughing in Baltimore's face and making their night miserable. Hanley singled and then he and Betts both stole again. Now both runners were in scoring position, Mookie had 3 steals and the Sox had five as a team off of Gausman! He was absolutely rattled and Xander Bogaerts took advantage by taking him deep for a three-run shot.
Bogaerts had gone up and over the Green Monster with light-tower power for the second straight night and now Boston led 6-0. Showalter came and pulled his pitcher before Xander had even come around third base! It was hilarious to see but I almost wish Buck left him out there a little longer to punish him for being so ridiculously bad. The final line on Gausman was four and two thirds innings pitched, six runs on eight hits, two walks and six Ks. He'd ultimately get hit with a loss.
I started this article talking about David Price, and somehow we haven't even really talked about him yet. Well, on the other side he was dealing and doing so efficiently. The lefty went all the way into the ninth inning with two outs before he allowed any runs and those came on a two-run shot by Machado. It's tough to fault him there when the guy was retaking the home run and RBI lead for the league. Price had pitched his first complete game with the Sox and first since 2015. He went nine full innings while giving up only the two runs on five hits, no walks and eight strikeouts. The best part about the whole thing was how good his command was and how he only threw 95 pitches. He deserved the win, and he got it.
Now Boston sits at 30-14 (the first team in the MLB to 30 wins) and in a tie for first place with the 28-12 New York Yankees. The Orioles meanwhile, are at the bottom of the AL East at 13-30 which is equal to the Kansas City Royals and only better than the Chicago White Sox. Yikes! Anyway, they'll get back at it tonight at Fenway with Drew Pomeranz facing off against Alex Cobb. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. so tune in tonight and all weekend here on MyFM 101.3!