CLEVELAND -- Baseball is a funny game, although, if you're the Red Sox, you may strain yourself attempting to find the humor in it right about now.
Think about it: you outbid a half-dozen teams, agree to an opt-out clause after three years and commit $217 million to one starting pitcher, because you've been led to believe that you can't win without elite starting pitching.
And then the playoffs start.
And then the highest-paid player in franchise history face-plants on the mound at Progressive Field, and suddenly, you're staring into the winter abyss, nine innings away from an off-season of soul-searching and head-scratching.
David Price saw his postseason run of futility extended Friday, chased after 3 1/3 innings, having sunk his team into a 4-0 sinkhole.
If you're keeping track, that makes him 0-8 with a 5.74 ERA in nine career starts in the postseason.
"Made some pitches,'' offered Price by way of explanation after the Red Sox dropped Game 2 of the ALDS to Cleveland, 6-0, "didn't have good things happen.''
Not many pitches, of course. Just 65 of them. He was gone before he could record the second out in the fifth inning -- exactly when teammate Rick Porcello was lifted the night before.
"That stunk, for sure,'' assessed Price.
Price also made sure to correct a reporter who reminded him that he was winless in the postseason.
"I've got two wins in the playoffs -- just not as a starter,'' corrected Price.
That comment alone was nearly as cringe-worthy as his performance.
Now is not the time to burnish the resume or take credit for a win that happened eight years ago. Against these Red Sox, by the way.
As for the present, Price sealed his fate when he gave up a three-run homer to a No. 8 hitter (Lonnie Chisenhall) who hadn't homered against a lefty all season long.
"That's a good pitch and he put a good swing on it,'' said Price.
The randomness of the postseason? Maybe. Bad luck? Perhaps.
None of that matters now.
What matters is that two starters to whom, starting this season, the Red Sox have committed a combined $299.5 million, have both failed in the first two games.
"They didn't have good outings,'' acknowledged Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox president of baseball operations. "I'm surprised to the extent that, when I look at those guys, I think they're going to go out there and give us seven innings and give up a couple of runs. But it didn't happen. They're human. I've seen good pitchers have tough ones.''
Indeed, it's not hard to find highly-paid, front-line starters who have been less than glorious in October: Clayton Kershaw, for one. Cole Hamels -- previously successful -- and Yu Darvish, for two more in the last two days alone. And Justin Verlander, upon whom Dombrowski once lavished a huge contract extension.
For every Madison Bumgarner, there's a handful of disappointing underachievers.
You open the vault for pitchers like these because you're led to believe that you need elite starters to win championships. And then, very quickly, you find your team on the precipice, dangling over the cliff of elimination, hoping that Clay Buchholz can extends your season one more day.
"You're playing good teams and if you make a bad pitch or two,'' said Dombrowski, "you end up in a position where, all of a sudden, you find yourself in trouble.''
That's where the Red Sox currently reside.
"I know good things are coming to me in October baseball,'' said Price, repeating, nearly word-for-word, what he vowed at his introductory press conference 11 months ago. "I haven't good results yet, but they're coming -- I promise you that.''
Still waiting, David. Still waiting.