David Price flops again in postseason

<p>
              Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price reacts after giving up a home run to New York Yankees' Aaron Judge at the end of the top of the first inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
            </p>

BOSTON (AP) — David Price flopped again in the postseason. And against the Yankees.

Price lasted just 1 2/3 innings in Boston’s 6-2 AL Division Series loss on Saturday night, giving up three runs and three hits, including home runs to Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez that cleared the Green Monster.

He dropped to 0-9 in 10 postseason starts. Price’s postseason ERA rose to 5.38, including 6.03 as a starter, as New York evened the best-of-five series 1-1.

Price trudged off the field to a chorus of boos from the Red Sox fans who had cheered him when he took the mound just an inning prior.

“It’s tough,” Price said after the shortest of his 10 postseason starts . “To go out there and have that opportunity to go up 2-0, and to throw the baseball the way I did, it was definitely tough.”

Of 70 pitchers with at least 10 career postseason starts, only Price doesn’t have a victory. He didn’t take the quick hook personally.

“It’s the playoffs,” he said. “You see it happen all the time, especially over the past couple of years. Managers go to the bullpen extremely early. If I don’t like it, I need to pitch better. Period.”

Price has linked his confidence in moving the ball around the strike zone to his success late in the regular season. He said he made a turning after an 11-1 loss at New York on July 1, when he gave up five home runs. He closed the regular season by winning seven of his last eight decisions.

But he reverted to old habits on Saturday night.

Sanchez’s home run made him 7 for 14 with six long balls against Price, who has now allowed 11 homers in 17 1/3 innings against the Yankees in five starts this year.

Bad outing or not, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he still has confidence in using Price again. While Price remains a starter, he only threw 42 pitches on Saturday and Cora hasn’t ruled out using Price in relief if needed.

“Just a bad outing today,” Cora said. “It just so happened it wasn’t his day. He didn’t make pitches. We trust him. He bounced back before. We’ll talk to him and make a few adjustments and we’ll go from there.”

Whatever happens during the rest of this postseason, it could factor into Price’s future in a Red Sox jersey.

In the third season of a $217 million, seven-year contract, Price has never seemed completely comfortable in front of Fenway Park’s demanding fans. He has the right to void the remainder of his contract after the World Series and become a free agent again, forfeiting $127 million in guaranteed money.

When asked on Thursday if getting his first victory might endear him the Boston’s fans, Price insisted it wasn’t something he dwelled on.

“If I lose the entire playoffs and we win a World Series, I’ll take that. That’s what I’m here for,” Price said. “I don’t want this to be about me and me not winning.”

Whether he likes it or not, it will continue to be.

But he says his goals remain the same.

“I just want to win,” Price said Saturday. “That’s it. My main goal is to win in the playoffs, to win a World Series. Whatever I have to do to help us do that, I’m fine with. I said it last year and I’ll say it again, I want to win. … But I know I’m more than capable of winning games as a starter in October. That’s what I’m looking forward to doing.”