Red Sox

McAdam: Woeful Braves may be just what the doctored ordered for Price

McAdam: Woeful Braves may be just what the doctored ordered for Price

Baseball is full of surprises, always delivering something no one could have forecast.

Case in point? As the first month of the 2016 season comes to a close, did anyone predict David Price would come to be seen as a question mark in the Red Sox rotation?


Price signed a seven-year, $217 million contract prescisely so that he could stabilize the Boston rotation. He was obtained to answer questions, not create them.

But through his first four starts, Price has had mixed results. There was one decent start (Opening Day), one superb start (April 16 against Toronto) and two very disconcerting ones -- the home opener against Baltimore and his last one, against Tampa Bay.

The man who was supposed to provide innings has failed to get through the fourth in one outing and pitched only five in another.

This has led to some wild overraction. Price can't stand the pressure of Boston! He can't pitch in Fenway!

Never mind that over the course of his career, Price has a 7-1 record with a 3.11 ERA in 14 starts at Fenway Park (including two as a member of the Red Sox). Or that, for most of his career, he's pitched in the A.L. East with great success (in the division, he's 50-21 against the Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays, Rays and Yankees).

Four starts in, panic has set in.

And after allowing a career-worst eight runs against the Rays last Thursday afternoon, Price understands the angst. In fact, he's been eager to make amends since he last walked off the Fenway mound.

"I just didn’t throw the baseball very well,'' Price confessed to reporters Monday, "and that stinks because I felt very good four days ago in Boston. I just want to go out there and go after hitters, pitch deep into the baseball game and give us a chance to win.''

That was the idea when the Red Sox lavished the biggest contract in franchise history on him. He would be the ace they so sorely lacked last season. He would be solid rock in the uncertainty of the rotation.

It hasn't worked out that way. Price has been outpitched by both Rick Porcello and -- unlikeliest of all -- Steven Wright.

Porcello has pitched into the seventh inning in all four of his starts and the Red Sox have won each of them. Wright, meanwhile, has three quality starts in three tries. With even a modicum of run support, he'd be 3-0.

Price maintains that it's been solely about execution for him, and there's evidence to support that. He's struck out 32 in 21 1/3 innings and walked just six, proof that the stuff is still elite.

But too many times, Price hasn't made the pitch he needed to in a big spot.

That shouldn't be cause for concern ordinarily, but, expectations being what they are, Price finds himself under the microscope.

Drawing the Braves an an opponent Tuesday night might be the perfect antidote. Atlanta may be the worst team in the National League, and in a season in which a handful of teams in that league aren't trying to win, that's saying something.

The Braves  hasn't hit a homer in 14 games, which should come as some relief to a pitcher who's allowed three in four starts.

The bottom half of their lineup is an offensive sinkhole. Then again, Price executed a faceplant last week against the Rays, a team which may have the weakest lineup in the American League, so there's no such thing as a lock.

Still, the conditions would seem in line for a turnaround for Price.

It's just not what he expected to face, five starts into his Red Sox career.

John Farrell joins ESPN’s ‘Baseball Tonight’ as analyst

File Photo

John Farrell joins ESPN’s ‘Baseball Tonight’ as analyst

John Farrell can add another job to his resume.

The former Boston Red Sox manager has joined the crew for ESPN's "Baseball Tonight," according to The Boston Globe. His debut will be on Wednesday for a season-preview show.

The Red Sox fired Farrell on Oct. 11, 2017 despite a second-straight A.L. East crown. Alex Cora will begin his first season in Farrell's old role during the 2018 season.

Farrell added the broadcast work after the Cincinnati Reds hired him as a scout and adviser with a focus on pitching. He interviewed this offseason for the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals managing jobs, but both teams passed on him.


Red Sox minor league team invites Trump, Biden to settle it in ring

File photos

Red Sox minor league team invites Trump, Biden to settle it in ring

In this corner, the challenger out of Scranton, Pa., Joltin' Joe Biden...In the other corner, straight out of Queens, the President of the United States, Dandy Donald J. Trump!

The venue: LeLacheur Park, Lowell, Mass., home of the Red Sox Class-A affiliate, the Lowell Spinners.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's The Slasher at LeLacheur!

After the former Vice-President told a crowd at the University of Miami earlier this week of the current President, "If we were in high school, I'd take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him, President Trump fired back on Twitter Thursday morning. 

The Spinners, the Sox' short-season New York-Penn League affiliate, have offered to host a boxing match between the Republican President and Democratic former Vice President on Aug. 17 by the flagpole at LeLacheur. Former light-welterweight champ and Lowell native Micky Ward has agreed to referee.

No word yet if Trump, who'll be 72 by then, or Biden, 75, have accepted the invitation.

The Spinners' press release announcing the invitation says that if the two do accept, "the boxing match will take place regardless of the weather, no matter how stormy it may get."