What’s the secret to David Price’s success since his return injury? Who knows, but his velocity keeps getting better.
Following a deflating 3-0 loss in Game 1 of the doubleheader, and the disappointment of a 16-inning loss Saturday, the Red Sox were expected to make it right in their final bout with New York.
In the midst of an offensive slump, Boston’s bats could be rest assured that with or without run support, the guy on the mound would keep them in the game for as long as he could. Sunday night, it was David Price.
Starting from the first inning, Price and his fastball were once again the star of the show. After a leadoff single by Jacoby Ellsbury, Price buckled down with two imposing punchouts of New York’s one-two punch, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge. The Yankee catcher saw nothing but fastballs in his first at-bat, and whiffed on 95 mph heater up high. Judge received the same treatment, except for a slider on the second pitch. He later fell prey to a 96 mph fastball, and this at-bat was only the beginning of the rough night for the rookie.
In the second inning David Price was much more efficient, retiring the middle of the Yankee lineup on seven pitches, striking out Clint Frazier with another fastball at 94 mph.
The smooth sailing continued into the third and fourth, with Mookie Betts providing the first two Red Sox runs to snap a scoreless drought of 24 innings. The home run may have given Price the extra spark he needed.
Price forced a number of easy groundouts, and struck Didi Gregorius out looking at a tough 81 mph curveball. The curve, along with his changeup, are his secret weapons and not meant to be out pitches like his fastball and cutter.
The fifth inning was another highlight, with Price ringing up two more Yankees, Clint Frazier again and Gleyber Torreyes. Price blew by Frazier with another fastball, this time clocking at 96 mph. The domination continued with a three pitch strikeout of Torreyes, who came up lame on an 88 mph slider from Price.
David Price had his velocity and a generous strikezone from umpire Adrian Johnson on his side, and he used both to his advantage all night long.
In the sixth inning, Price faced Aaron Judge again and quickly got ahead 0-2, just as before. In a key moment, Price was able to strike Judge out looking with his fastball off a generous call inside.
Although Price’s control, velocity and “stuff” were all top-notch, his job was made easier by Johnson’s wide strikezone. When a pitcher is as dominant as Price was Sunday night, a generous strikezone is enough to frustrate each batter into making half-baked swings.
Price finished off the 6th and 7th innings with ease, and was able to survive another small scare in the 8th. with a pitch count over 100. By this point in the game, his velocity began to dip slightly, down to 92-94 from 93-96. However, this didn’t stop Price from being effective. He forced Ellsbury to line out, and Aaron Judge to fly out, and then put the Yankees to bed with a strikeout of Matt Holliday. Since Price knew that his velocity was slipping, he chose his slider with two strikes on Holliday, who chased it at 88 mph.
While the 7th may have looked like the end of Price’s start, the 8th inning was his last for sure, and he walked back to the dugout to well-deserved applause.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 17, 2017
This start made it clear that the life and velocity of his fastball continues to progess with each start since his return from injury.