BOSTON -- David Price has always been blunt about his postseason resume. Until he did something to change it, some people would wonder about his ability to pitch well on baseball's biggest stage.That storyline was never entirely fair. Price delivered a complete-game victory on the road against the Rangers in
BOSTON -- David Price has always been blunt about his postseason resume. Until he did something to change it, some people would wonder about his ability to pitch well on baseball's biggest stage.
That storyline was never entirely fair. Price delivered a complete-game victory on the road against the Rangers in the 163rd game of the 2013 regular season to get the Rays into the postseason.
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Price had some other solid performances along the way, but there were some tough days, too. One thing he hadn't done was get credited with a postseason victory in a start. Yes, that outdated thing was a big deal.
How about we write a shiny new narrative for Price? On Wednesday night at Fenway Park in Game 2 of the World Series, he delivered a second straight solid, pressure-packed postseason performance as the Red Sox beat the Dodgers, 4-2, to take a 2-0 Series lead.
Price allowed two earned runs in six innings to get his second straight victory. It followed six shutout innings last Thursday in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series in Houston as Boston clinched the AL pennant.
"He was amazing," manager Alex Cora said of Price's Wednesday performance. "I get it, the numbers [0-9 as a postseason starter until last week] and all that, but this guy is a great pitcher, he's been one of the best pitchers in the big leagues for a while, and he cares."
This was the appropriate encore for what Price did against the Astros. That one game -- because it's the Red Sox, because every day of the year is baseball season, because reputations are made and broken here -- changed plenty.
"This is part of the reason I came here, absolutely," Price said.
Price was very good again on Wednesday, mixing fastballs and curves for three innings, mixing in his cutter in the fourth and fifth. Boston scored a run in the second inning, and Price made it hold up into the fourth when he had his one tough inning.
"This is the biggest stage in baseball," Price said. "There's no other stage that's going to be bigger than pitching in a World Series game, unless it's Game 7 of the World Series."
Price's most impressive inning might have been his toughest. Three straight Dodgers reached base to open the fourth inning, and two of them scored, one on a Matt Kemp sacrifice fly, another on a Yasiel Puig single. But Price rallied and struck out Austin Barnes to end the inning with a runner on third.
"I just told myself to continue to make pitches," Price said. "I made a lot of good pitches that inning. They hit some. Took some. That was a tough inning, It could have spun out of control pretty fast. And it's been one of my Achilles' heels, especially in the playoffs, and even in the regular season, that big inning. Being able to stop it at two right there after the Puig hit to center, that was big for us."
When that inning ended, Price stopped for a chat with home-plate umpire Kerwin Danley on his way back to the dugout. Price spoke calmly for a few seconds, made his points and got a pat on the back from the ump.
"I think that's the first time the whole season when he went to the umpire after the third out and kind of let him know how he felt about the strike zone," Cora said. "You don't see that often. And when he did that, it was like, 'OK, cool.'"
Price breezed through the next two frames, departing after six innings and 88 pitches (58 strikes). Yes, he got the victory, another one, as the relentless Red Sox scored three runs with two out in the bottom of the fifth inning.
"He was out there battling his butt off, and you have to tip your hat to him," Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez said. "These last two outings, he's been unbelievable. And I'm so happy for him and proud of him, going through all that criticism that he's been getting here to bounce back to what he's been doing. He's a huge part of our team and I couldn't be happier for him."
Now with Boston two victories from winning its fourth World Series in 15 seasons, Price may not even be needed again as the Series shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Friday.
But after a couple of seasons in which he has fought through injuries and some frustrating performances, Price has written his name into the rich folklore of New England baseball.
"I'm pumped for myself, pumped for all my teammates and coaches for us to be two wins away," Price said. "And I'm 2-0 right now in the World Series, that's a good feeling."
Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.