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Carl Crawford remembers the day he knew David Price was really good

03.22.11 at 3:08 pm ET

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Carl Crawford had no doubt.

Prior to Tuesday night’s spring training game between the Red Sox and Rays — pitting Tampa Bay starter David Price against Sox hurler John Lackey — the new Sox outfielder talked about the moment Price was truly introduced to big league baseball: The eighth inning of Game 7 in the 2008 American League Championship Series.

Setting the scene …

The Red Sox trailed by a run, but had the bases loaded after Tampa Bay reliever Chad Bradford walked Kevin Youkilis. With J.D. Drew coming up, Sox manager Joe Maddon made the decision to turn to the then-rookie left-hander, Price.

“When he came in, I was thinking this was our secret weapon,” Crawford remembered. “I just knew he was a guy who was going to like that kind of moment. We weren’t nervous about it, I can tell you that. We were just like, ‘Throw it as hard as you can! Don’t leave nothing out there.’ I had seen what he could do.”

Price had pitched just two other times in the series, coming on in Game 1 to get Jacoby Ellsbury on a lineout, and then in Game 2, walking Drew before retiring Mark Kotsay and Coco Crisp. Before that the only big league experience the lefty had was five regular season appearances, including one start.

The move against Drew paid off, with Price getting the lefty hitter swinging for a strikeout. The rookie hurler would stay in the game, getting the save and leading Tampa Bay into the World Series.

“Trust me,” Crawford said, “nobody was complaining about that.”

So now that he has to go up against Price, according to Crawford what will be the toughest part of getting best of his former teammate?

“Just trying to catch up to that 97 (mph),” the outfielder said. “It’s going to be tough. He throws hard. Just got find a way, some kind of way, to hit it.”

Read More: carl crawford, David Price, J.D Drew,
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