How has the new Red Sox ace fared?

By Christopher Frangolini

David Price improved to 3-0 on the season Tuesday when the Red Sox beat the Braves, 11-4. Let’s see how the Sox’s new ace has fared through his five starts…

April 5th @ Cleveland

Result: Boston wins 6-2.

Price’s line: 6.0 innings, five hits allowed, two earned runs, 10 strikeouts, two walks. Win.

Price had a dominate opening day start for the Sox, throwing heat in the chilly 34 degrees game-time temperature. He survived a few jams and took a no-hitter through three innings.

Quote: “This is why I came here,’’ Price said after the game. “Hopefully this is the first of many.’’

April 11th vs. Baltimore

Result: Baltimore wins 9-7.

Price’s line: 5.0 innings, five hits allowed, five earned runs, eight strike outs and two walks. No decision.

Emotions were high for David Ortiz’s last opening day at Fenway and the Red Sox used that to their advantage, jumping ahead 3-0. In the third inning, Price faltered a pair of free passes (walk, hit by pitch) and a couple of hits that led to five runs

Quote: “I had one bad inning. Sometimes that’s all it takes in this game,’’ Price said.

April 16th vs. Toronto

Result: Sox wins 4-2.

Price’s line: 7.0 innings, six hits allowed, two earned runs, nine strikeouts and zero walks. Win.

Boston lured Price away from the Blue Jays in the offseason by throwing $217 million at him. You still have to consider the extra motivation a player feels while playing his old team for the first time (the Jays acquired Price via a trade from Detroit and he started 11 games going 9-1). Price was the first Sox pitcher to complete seven innings of work, striking out nine and walking none.

Quote: “To me, that’s the least amount of innings I can go,’’ Price said. “I want to get 21 outs every five days — I want to get 27 outs, but 21 is what I want to be the minimum every five days I step out there — and knowing that one pitch could kind of ruin my day, I definitely tried to lock in a little bit more.’’

April 21st vs. Tampa Bay

Result: Tampa Bay wins 12-8.

Price’s line: 3.2 innings, eight hits allowed, eight earned runs, five strikeouts and two walks. No decision.

Price had his worst start on the season and maybe in his career and it was against the team that drafted him. The Sox piled up five runs in the first inning, but Price quickly gave that away. In the fourth inning alone, Price allowed six runs. He gave up two homers and a career-high eight runs.

Quote: “That’s the best I’ve felt in my four starts here,” Price said. “To me, that’s the most disappointing thing. To feel the way that I felt, (I just didn’t) get the results that I expect.”

April 26th @ Atlanta

Result: Boston wins 11-4.

Price’s line: 8.0 innings, two earned runs, 14 strikeouts and two walks. Win.

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David Price is the ace the Red Sox need. Photo Courtesy: AP.

A performance like this is the reason the Red Sox brought David Price to Boston. This is Price in true form, going eight strong innings and matching a career-high with 14 strikeouts. It always helps when you’re throwing against the worst team in baseball and your offense gives four runs in the first frame, but the best outing on the year by any Sox pitcher.

Quote: “I just executed whenever I was ahead,” Price said.

“I don’t care about strikeouts,” he said. “I just want to go out there and pitch as deep as I can into games.”

Outlook: Through 20 games the Red Sox sit at 11-9. They’ve won three games in a row and are getting good offensive production. David Ortiz (three home runs, 14 RBIs) is off to a great start in his farewell campaign and the Sox need to take advantage of that.

The pitching needs to be more consistent and it hopefully will be when Eduardo Rodriguez returns from injury. Unlike last season, when the Sox had “five number ones,” David Price is the true number one they did not have. He’s the guy that can snap the playoff drought and bring them back to the postseason. The rest of the rotation just needs to be consistent and try to get through six innings so the bullpen isn’t worn out.

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