BOSTON - It will be all eyes on David Price Thursday night at Fenway Park, and for a very good reason.
Price, by his own admission, has underperformed this season after signing a record seven-year, $217 million deal with the team over the offseason.
He comes into the game against the Houston Astros sporting a 4-1 record, but a 6.75 ERA fresh off his first loss of the season last weekend in New York against the Yankees, where he was chased in the fifth inning after allowing six earned runs. Price has pitched just three quality starts over his first seven starts.
So what's the deal? Well, the film shows Price's mechanics are a bit off. Dustin Pedroia found that Price wasn't bringing his leg up as high as he had in past seasons. That, Price thinks, could explain his dip in velocity and struggles overall this season.
Price has worked all week to adjust, and is set to test the results.
"To simplify it as best possible," manager John Farrell began, "he has worked on just maintaining his balance over the rubber and separating his hands on time and when a pitcher does that they typically command the baseball with a little more consistency, and that's what we'll look for here tonight."
But Price's mechanics this season are similar to that of last season's when Price was pitching well. So can that adjustment really fix what's wrong?
"It's timing. And it's getting your hands separated on time," Farrell said. "So if you have a lower hand set and you drift a little bit towards the rubber you're probably going to be a little bit late getting out of the glove. And that's where a number of pitches have been elevated in the strike zone. So by maybe taking a little bit more of an adjustment of getting your hands a little bit higher, it does free them up, it does buy you a little bit of time over the rubber to separate."
The Sox will hope for success with Price's adjustment, because there is no price adjustment in the deal they're paying him.