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Price shoulders blame for subpar outing

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

ST. PETERSBURG -- David Price didn't want to hear about a bad bounce here or there, or the fact that he had 10 strikeouts in Wednesday's 4-0 loss to the Rays.

Price felt like venting after his latest disappointing start. And the subject of his ire was the man in the mirror.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- David Price didn't want to hear about a bad bounce here or there, or the fact that he had 10 strikeouts in Wednesday's 4-0 loss to the Rays.

Price felt like venting after his latest disappointing start. And the subject of his ire was the man in the mirror.

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"Bad," said Price. "Again. I'm just putting us being the eight-ball early on in games. I'm not setting the tone the way that I need to. It's tough."

The Red Sox, who have an off-day on Thursday, finished June with a 10-16 mark.

Price expected to be able to give his teammates a happy flight home, and didn't deliver. The lefty went 0-2 on the road trip to drop to 8-5 on the season. His ERA spiked to 4.74.

"I've got to pitch better. That's the way it is right now. It's nothing else. It's not bad luck. It's me," said Price.

Unlike his Friday start in Texas, when Price was shelled (12 hits, six runs in 2 1/3 innings), he was competitive in this one. In three road starts at Tropicana Field since leaving the Rays, Price is 0-3 with a 3.98 ERA while getting a total of just one run from his offense.

Mistakes across the middle of the plate led to nine hits and four runs allowed over 6 1/3 innings on Wednesday, washing away the impact of the 10 punchouts against just one walk.

"On a day when I thought, overall, he probably had his best stuff of the season in terms of velocity and in terms of the shape of his secondary pitches, they bunched a couple of hits together, particularly the third inning for the three runs," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Price didn't agree with the kind assessment of his secondary pitches. Perhaps he wasn't in the mood to agree with anything that sounded complimentary.

"Changeup, that's probably the worst changeup I've had in probably a month," Price said. "Curveball was awful. Can't get my cutter or my slider where I want to. I'm just bad right now."

The way Price's teammates see it, he isn't that far from pitching like the ace he has been for most of his career.

"He's been a great pitcher for a long time. I'm not even worried about him," said Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. "He's prepared. He's doing everything he's got to do. The only thing I see is he's leaving a few pitches in the middle and they're not missing on them. That's the only thing I can say for him. Velo is there. Everything is there."

Prior to the road trip, Price had worked out of an early-season slump with eight straight quality starts. Now, he'll try to get on another roll.

"He throws a lot of strikes, he's around the plate," Farrell said. "You can look at the home run totals and say that they're high, but to me, it's not uncommon for a guy that's going to throw as many strikes as he does. Could he be a little more sparing to throw some balls off the plate just to keep some guys honest? That's an adjustment that's a definite possibility. He's got swing-and-miss stuff, and yet there are times where guys will run into a pitch on the plate."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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