Red Sox

'One bad inning' spoils Price's Fenway debut with Red Sox

'One bad inning' spoils Price's Fenway debut with Red Sox

BOSTON - Perhaps David Price just hadn't gotten used to walking out to the Fenway Park mound from the home dugout.

As a visitor to Fenway Park, he was lights out.

Price came into Monday's Red Sox home opener with a 1.95 ERA over his first 11 starts at Fenway.

But the idea that he would continue on his dominance here left with the two-seamer that Orioles outfielder Mark Trumbo unloaded on for a three-run home run in the third inning.

Chris Davis had driven in two with a bloop single before Trumbo's homer, and just like that the O's put up a five-spot, turning a 3-0 Red Sox lead into a 5-3 deficit.

It was the first time in Price's career that he's given up more than three runs at Fenway Park, and just the second time that he's given up two.

After the game, Price called "that one bad inning" his Achilles heel.

"That's all it takes in this game. It can be one pitch and today it was just that one bad inning, Price said."

Otherwise - and yes, it's a big otherwise - Price was OK, not allowing a run in any of the other four innings he pitched. He allowed five hits, walked two, and struck out eight.

Price was originally scheduled to pitch Sunday in Toronto, but after a rainout in Cleveland, manager John Farrell elected to push him back a day as opposed to skipping the fifth starter Stephen Wright.

The extra day, according to Farrell, had nothing to do with his third inning.

"An additional day of rest is not significant. I think when you get into seven or eight days between starts that's a little bit of a different story," Farrell said. "But I thought that probably the pitch in that inning, he's ahead of Davis 1-2 and he fights off a changeup for a bloop base-hit RBI and then Trumbo got him after that. But again, just a little bit of mislocated pitches inside the third inning."

Price echoed Farrell's statements that the changeup to David was one he'd like to have back.

"If I could have one pitch back, it's easy to say the home run to Trumbo, but the changeup to Chris Davis," Price said. "If I could execute that one the way I did early on in that count to him to get that swinging strike below the zone, that one could have been a little bit different for me and for me that is the toughest pitch."

Price will probably be thinking about that pitch for a bit, and noted that his execution over his last two starts isn't where he wants it to be. It's something to work on going forward. But getting the two openers - season and home - out of the way was big, and finishing his Fenway outing strong and walking off the mound to cheers left a good mark on an otherwise disappointing day for Price.

"I enjoyed having all those fans behind me," Price said. "That felt good. Even after I gave up that five-spot in the third, they were still behind me and that was huge. Getting that last strikeout to [Matt] Wieters in the fifth inning to finish my day. They all cheered. I definitely appreciated that. It didn't go the way I wanted it to, or the way we wanted it too, but that is part of it."

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are about to go global.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy on Monday confirmed the Sox are interested to play the Yankees in London during next year's regular season. Bloomberg reported the clubs are nearing an agreement to play two games there in June 2019. Discussions are indeed taking place, but a deal is not done.

MORE - Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make," Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.

Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics.

MLB has not played any games in Europe before. The Red Sox have made trips before, including to Japan before the 2008 season.


Red Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

Red Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

Blake Swihart’s strong spring seems to have the Red Sox more inclined to deal one of their natural utility infielders, such as Brock Holt or Deven Marrero, rather than Swihart, a converted catcher with high upside who's getting a look in other roles.
"Sounds like they’re holding Swihart to open," a rival executive said. "More likely to move a utility guy."
A true utility guy, that is.


The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported Sunday that Marrero has been drawing interest from other teams.

"We do have depth with our middle infielders," Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday. "However, [I] would not get into potential trade discussions."
Swihart, who turns 26 on April 3, is most valuable as a catcher. But he could still be useful in a bench role for the 2018 Red Sox, and a win-now mentality may be the driving force here. (It is possible, as well, that there is nothing available via trade for Swihart that has piqued the Sox’ interest. Marrero or Holt wouldn’t require as much in return.)
The potential drawback is that Swihart won’t grow much if he’s not playing every day -- and in particular, if he's not catching every day. But the Sox may be be at a juncture where they feel his bat is a worthwhile experiment off the bench, at least for this season. They can figure out his future -- and their future at backstop -- later.
"He’s a great athlete," Cora told reporters on Sunday. "We’ve seen it in the batter’s box. It’s not only the results, but the way he’s driving the ball to left field as a left-hander, the quality of at-bats as a right-hander. [On Saturday], as a pinch-hitter, that kid was throwing 99 and he throws a breaking ball and squares a ball up."
Swihart entered Monday with a .283 average in Grapefruit League play, with a .905 OPS and a pair of home runs. But he does not have the infield experience that Marrero or Holt has, and the Red Sox essentially have to carry one of those two to start the year. 
Eduardo Nunez, the temporary replacement for Dustin Pedroia, is coming off a knee injury, and a sure-handed infielder -- Marrero’s glove is particularly good -- is a must. Rafael Devers is still coming into his own at third base. 
Tzu-Wei Lin is available in the minors too, and the Sox could see some redundancy with him, Holt and Marrero. Lin, unlike Marrero, has minor league options remaining. Lin also has some limited outfield experience.
The way the Sox roster looks now, they have two spots available for the three guys: Marrero, Holt and Swihart. Health can change that. Holt, despite being the most veteran of the group, has minor league options remaining, so he theoretically could go to Triple-A to start the season. But if the Sox don't see a role for him on this year's team any way, they'd be wiser trading him, considering he's due to make $2.225 million. It also would be kindest choice for Holt, to let him have an opportunity elsewhere, if one exists.


Swihart has played first base, third base and left field in addition to catching this spring. Perhaps, in time, there will be a way to work Swihart in behind the plate for the Sox. At the least, retaining him would be insurance if Christian Vazquez or Sandy Leon do not perform well offensively.
There was a clear personal-catcher system for the Red Sox in 2017. Leon was Chris Sale’s guy, for example. Manager Alex Cora said he is not taking that approach. As an auxiliary effect, moving away from a personal-catcher system might make it easier for Swihart to receive more time behind the plate, if called on.
"Whoever I feel comfortable with that day behind the plate, he'll catch," Cora told reporters in Florida. "Christian already caught him. Sandy's going to catch him today. And then the next turn, Christian's going to catch him. Everybody's going to work with everybody."