BOSTON -- For Red Sox lefty David Price, the feeling was too familiar. He stood in a clubhouse full of packed boxes and bags, wishing the season wasn't over yet.After making it to the World Series as a late-season callup with the Rays in 2008, Price's past six trips to
BOSTON -- For Red Sox lefty David Price, the feeling was too familiar. He stood in a clubhouse full of packed boxes and bags, wishing the season wasn't over yet.
After making it to the World Series as a late-season callup with the Rays in 2008, Price's past six trips to the postseason have fallen short of that. The last four have been in consecutive years, with four teams.
And once again, Price couldn't help but go home feeling the outcome could have been different if he had pitched better.
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In his nine career starts in the postseason -- all since 2010 -- the lefty is 0-8 with a 5.74 ERA.
The toughest part about going home for the winter is that there's nothing Price can do to reverse this storyline for another year.
"I don't think it's something you address in the offseason. I feel good right now," said Price. "I felt good four days ago when I was pitching in Cleveland. I know good things are going to happen. It hasn't happened yet. I definitely wanted it to happen this year to get it off my back. It wasn't the case, but I look forward to doing it in 2017."
The Red Sox were swept in three games by the Indians in the American League Division Series. They lost by a run in Games 1 and 3, but were blown out, 6-0, in Price's Game 2 start. Price lasted just 10 outs in that game.
Surrounded by microphones and cameras in front of his locker, Price took accountability for one of baseball's most recurring storylines. He knows the criticism is going to come with it.
"It's happened for the last seven seasons. I need to get it off my back," Price said. "Until I do, it's going to be a topic of conversation. I'm fully aware of that, and if you don't like it, pitch better. It's definitely frustrating for sure. The way I work and how I go about everything, I expect to have good results, especially at this time of year. That hasn't happened yet."
Though Price had his ups (17 wins, most innings pitched in the Majors, 228 strikeouts) and downs (highest ERA since 2009, 30 homers allowed), manager John Farrell felt the lefty's first season in Boston was fine overall.
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But there's no hiding that the postseason success -- or lack thereof -- will need to change for Price and the Red Sox to reach their joint goal of winning another World Series.
"Postseason, that's an area that continues to be addressed. That's something that he's hopefully got many more opportunities to begin to turn the tide on his own personal path through the postseason," said Farrell. "From just start to finish, his first experience here, I thought it was a strong one."
Farrell thinks that the changes Price needs to make to perform better in October are micro instead of macro.
"Inside the moment, though, that's where the key lies," said Farrell. "When you're in a 2-1 count, are you going to an area in the strike zone that is best designed for that individual hitter? Is it a pitch that you're looking to execute to maybe disrupt a hitter's timing? He had one opportunity this postseason for us. I'm sure he'd like to have the 2-1 fastball back to [Lonnie] Chisenhall. That was kind of the difference-maker in his outing. It still comes down to opportunity, it comes down to executing inside those critical moments inside a game."
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski acquired Price when he was with the Tigers, then traded him to the Blue Jays just before he left Detroit, and persuaded Boston's ownership to sign the lefty to a seven-year, $217 million contract.
Dombrowski remains confident in the investment.
"It's a shame he didn't have good results the other day. He gave up [five] runs. It was a shame he gave up three hits that were bloopers or seeing-eyes at that time. Then he gave up a three-run homer, so it just really changed it," said Dombrowski. "I still have confidence that David will pitch well in the postseason. I wish he had another outing this year."
Meanwhile, Price has no regrets about his decision to come to the pressure-cooker that is Boston.
"I know everyone in this clubhouse thinks we should still be playing right now. That's not the way it happened, but I'll be prepared for 2017," said Price. "I'm going to make these fans love me, and I've got six more years to do it."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.