Just as the Boston Red Sox appeared to be righting the ship, starter David Price is heading to the injured list with an elbow injury.
With eight wins in their last 11 games, the previously-struggling Boston Red Sox looked to be getting back on track and climbing back to the upper echelon of the American League. The team’s title defense could not have gotten off to a much worse start, as they finished April 13-17 with some of the ugliest pitching numbers in the league. Now, Boston has been dealt another blow as left-hander David Price is heading to the injured list with elbow tendinitis.
Price was one of the few starting pitchers in the Boston rotation who had been pitching well. The 33-year-old is 1-2 on the year with a 3.75 ERA across six starts and 36 innings pitched. Price had been striking out a career-high 10.5 per nine before landing on the shelf. The latest elbow flareup for Price could not have come at a worse time for the Red Sox, who are already without Nathan Eovaldi for the next six weeks due to elbow surgery.
Boston’s rotation had been pulling itself together after one of the worst starts in MLB history, and will have to find a way to cover for Price during his absence. Ace Chris Sale started the year 0-4 with an 8.50 ERA through his first 18 innings but has started to look more like a seven-time All-Star over his last three outings. Sale is 1-2 with a 2.00 ERA over his last three starts and has struck out 28 hitters in 18 innings of work.
This is now the third time Price has been shelved with elbow issues in his tenure with the Red Sox. He made only 11 starts and pitched 74.2 innings in 2017 with two stints on the injured list. This does not portend great things for the remaining three-plus years on his seven-year contract. Price is now 40-21 with a 3.75 ERA in just over 500 innings since joining the Red Sox. He has lost roughly three miles per hour on his fastball since 2015 when his four-seamer came in close to 95 mph on average.
When he was dealing with his elbow issues in 2017, Price was out of commission for nearly two months each time he was on the injured list. If he is looking at another extended absence, the Red Sox may be forced to make a bigger move to fill his place. Dallas Keuchel remains unsigned, and if the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees continue to pull away and Boston’s staff ERA stays well north of 5.00, their hand may be forced into a more aggressive move.