After David Price was mauled in the Bronx yet again, there seemed to be only one pertinent question for him:
Which does he dislike more these days, pitching to the Yankees or talking to the Boston media?
Of course, no one actually asked Price that question in a rather tense group interview in the Red Sox clubhouse Thursday night, after Gary Sanchez hit two home runs off him in a 9-1 romp over the Red Sox at the Stadium, but he’d probably have to give it some serious thought.
The $217 million lefthander seems to have declared war of sorts on the Boston press corps, announcing Wednesday that he’ll talk only on days that he pitches, and later that night getting into arguments with a reporter.
But Price doesn’t have to talk to the media if he doesn’t want to.
He just wishes he didn’t have to pitch to the guys in the pinstripes.
Indeed, it’s uncanny the way the Yankees continue to pound a pitcher who wins a lot against everybody else. Just not so much in the post-season.
And while Price can’t hide from his October failures, he apparently thinks everyone in Boston reminds him of it way too often.
But we’ll get to that. For the moment, Price’s presence in the Sox rotation is one more reason to believe the Yankees can actually outplay the division favorites all the way to September.
So far they’ve owned the Sox , winning four of five games against them this season, and mostly it hasn’t been close, outscoring them 27-7.
If the Sox have an edge, you’d think it would be in the starting rotation, specifically at the top of Chris Sale and Price. But since he signed that mega-deal with the Red Sox after the 2015 season, Price has gone 1-4 against the Yankees with a rather staggering 8.31 ERA, giving up 32 runs in 34 2/3 innings.
And the Baby Bombers are making the matchup especially tough on him. Sanchez has now homered four times off Price in eight at-bats, and Aaron Judge, facing him for the first time on Thursday, walked and hit a screamer up the middle against him.
So now Price has a 4.68 ERA against the Yankees, compared to 3.10 against everybody else in baseball.
When asked why the Yankees have been so tough on him, Price pointed out that he pitched very well against them in 2015, but admitted, “I’ve definitely had my fair share of bad games against them. They’re a tough lineup to pitch against.”
Think he might be second-guessing his decision to sign with the Red Sox? Yankees aside, you could have predicted problems with the notoriously tough Boston, considering his history of Twitter fights with his critics.
Maybe he should have taken the $190 million or so the Cardinals offered instead. How much is peace of mind worth for someone as sensitive to criticism as Price seems to be, anyway?
The lefthander could have played in St. Louis, where the fans famously offer unconditional support for the players and the media rarely stirs up controversy, and he’d probably be happier at the moment.
But he’s just back from an elbow injury, and had pitched well in two starts before Thursday night, so what’s the issue?
Boston reporters I spoke to on Thursday seemed a bit baffled, believing Price is lumping them in with fans on Twitter and talk-radio who apparently remind him regularly that he’s not worth his big contract can’t win in the post-season, where he is 2-8 with a 5.54 ERA after an early knockout by the Indians last October.
Of course, Price had to know the type of scrutiny he’d get in Boston, yet he went for the money and, by all accounts, was very accessible and candid with reporters last season while going 17-9 with a 3.99 ERA during the regular season.
However, now he feels he has been treated unfairly, and as such he told Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy on Wednesday that he’ll only do group interviews after his starts, saying he’d gotten “blown up” for being honest and accessible.
Wednesday night Price had strong and loud words with another reporter, while Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley reported the lefty was heard telling a Red Sox PR person, “(Bleep) them. (Bleep) them all. All of them.’’
Before Thursday’s game Sox manager John Farrell said he would address the clubhouse incidents with Price, and there was some thought he might apologize after the game.
Instead he made it clear he didn’t want to address it. As for his poor outing, Price said simply, “I didn’t make pitches when I had to.”
When a reporter asked if “the incident” affected his performance at all, he said simply, “Absolutely not.”
He also cut short a question about whether Farrell had talked to him, indicating they’d do so in the coming days.
The tension on both sides in the interview was obvious, and Price, though professional in his responses, obviously couldn’t wait for it to be over.
Which is pretty much how he must feel pitching against the Yankees lately.