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Saturday’s Red Sox-Twins matchups: David Price vs. Ricky Nolasco 07.23.16 at 8:28 am ET
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In the third game of the Red Sox-Twins series on Saturday night, the Red Sox will send ace David Price to the mound, while the Twins call upon right-hander Ricky Nolasco.

Price is 9-7 with a 4.36 ERA and a 1.231 WHIP in 20 starts. He was cruising through his last start on Sunday against the Yankees until the fourth inning when he gave up three runs. The 30-year-old left-hander lasted 5 2/3 innings, giving up three runs, 11 hits and one walk with one strikeout. The lone strikeout tied a season low for Price.

“No, I’m definitely not satisfied,” Price said. “It was a bad fourth inning. Even when I was ahead, I couldn’t execute whatever pitch I was throwing to get an out. That’s tough. They gave me a lead there in the first inning with a home run by [Dustin Pedroia] and I couldn’t capitalize.”

Price has faced the Twins 15 times (14 starts). In those games, Price is 9-3 with a 2.12 ERA and a 0.974 WHIP. Price’s career 2.12 ERA against the Twins is the lowest he has against any team with at least 10 starts. Price last faced the Twins in August of last season when he was a member of the Blue Jays. In that outing, Price went eight innings, allowing just one run, three hits and two walks with 11 strikeouts in a 5-1 Toronto win.

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David Price on loss to Yankees: ‘I’m definitely not satisfied’ 07.18.16 at 1:02 am ET
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David Price Red Sox Yankees

Red Sox lefty David Price had reason to hang his head on Sunday against the Yankees. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

NEW YORK — The Red Sox continue to wait.

David Price has had his moments this year. He has looked very good at times.

But he has yet to really dominate an opponent and win a game on his own. Such was the case Sunday night against the Yankees when he once again did just enough to lose in a 3-1 defeat.

Considering that the Yankees pounded Price for 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings, it could’ve been worse. But fact is, the Red Sox gave Price a 1-0 lead in the first on Dustin Pedroia’s solo homer, and he gave it back during a three-run fourth.

“I’m definitely not satisfied,” Price said. “It was a bad fourth inning. Even when I was ahead, I couldn’t execute whatever pitch I was throwing to get an out. That’s tough. They gave me a lead there in the first inning with a home run by Pedey, and I couldn’t capitalize.

“That’s all it takes, one bad inning, one bad pitch. At this level, that’s enough to lose your team a ballgame. That was the case today. Those are always the tough ones.”

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Closing Time: David Price falters, Red Sox bats go silent in loss to Yankees 07.17.16 at 11:39 pm ET
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Red Sox left-hander David Price leaves the mound after a disappointing performance vs. the Yankees on Sunday. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox left-hander David Price leaves the mound after a disappointing performance vs. the Yankees on Sunday. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

NEW YORK — If David Price is planning to embark on a dominant second-half run, as he suggested to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford recently, it didn’t start Sunday night.

Once again tasked with protecting a slim lead, Price once again faltered against the Yankees. He allowed three runs in the fourth and generally struggling to put away one of the more pedestrian offenses in the American League in a 3-1 loss that snapped Boston’s six-game winning streak.

“The finishing pitch might not have been there as it was the last few times out for him but still, despite the combination of hits in that one inning, he kept the game very much under control,” manager John Farrell said. “He might not have been as sharp or as powerful as recent times out, but they string together 11 hits, got to go to the bullpen to shut things down and we did.”

Price needed to be perfect to outduel Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka. After Dustin Pedroia gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the first, Price struggled right from the start, allowing a line drive to left by leadoff Brett Gardner that Brock Holt snared with a diving catch.

The Yankees peppered Price for 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings, including two each from Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran atop the order.

That said, the Red Sox carried a 1-0 lead into the fourth before Price faltered. Didi Gregorius started things with a one-out single and scored on Starlin Castro’s double to left. Price had a chance to keep the game tied, but after striking out Rob Refsnyder, he allowed RBI singles to Austin Romine and Ellsbury.

Price was lifted with two outs in the sixth after allowing singles to Gardner and Ellsbury, leaving the mound after a disappointing performance that left his ERA at 4.36 and at least temporarily dashed hopes that he’d start the second half the same way he finished the first, with eight strong innings against the Rays.

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Read More: David Price, Dustin Pedroia, Masahiro Tanaka, Red Sox
Sunday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: David Price vs. Masahiro Tanaka at 8:49 am ET
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Looking to complete a series sweep of the Yankees on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium, the Red Sox will send out ace David Price, while the Yankees will depend on the right arm of Masahiro Tanaka.

Price is 9-6 in 19 starts with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.190 WHIP. Price ended the first half of the season on a high note last Sunday by pitching eight innings and allowing no runs, four hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts in a 4-0 Red Sox win. It was the first time this season Price didn’t give up a run.

“I was never discouraged,” Price said. “I never lost confidence in my abilities. My coaching staff and my teammates didn’t, either. Just continue to work. I know it’s going to happen.”

Against the Yankees, Price is 14-8 in 33 games (32 starts), the most he has against any team, with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.318 WHIP. Price faced the Yankees in back-to-back starts in May. In the first outing on May 7 he went seven innings, allowing six runs, eight hits and one walk with three strikeouts. In next start seven days later, the 30-year-old left-hander lasted just 4 2/3 innings, allowing six runs, seven hits and three walks with four strikeouts.

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David Price reflects on up-and-down 1st half: ‘I never lost confidence in my abilities’ 07.10.16 at 5:53 pm ET
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David Price capped an up-and-down first half with a great performance Sunday against the Rays. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

David Price capped an up-and-down first half with a great performance Sunday against the Rays. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

On May 7 and after seven starts as a member of the Red Sox, David Price had a 6.75 ERA and wasn’t even close to the pitcher the Red Sox signed to a seven-year, $217 million contract last offseason.

But, to Price’s credit, he didn’t let that bring him down as he’s turned things around dramatically and has been pitching like the ace he was supposed to be of late.

On Sunday, in his final start of the first half, the left-hander tossed eight shutout innings while scattering four hits, walking one and striking out 10 against the Rays in the Red Sox’ 4-0 win — his ninth win of the season.

It was the first time in his career he went at least eight innings, didn’t allow a run and struck out at least 10 batters. It was just his second win since May 24.

“I’m never discouraged. I never lost confidence in my abilities,” Price said. “I know my coaching staff and my teammates didn’t either.”

Price now has a 4.34 ERA on the season, down almost 2.50 points from two months ago. Since May 7, over his last 12 starts, he has an ERA of 3.14

“Today is an example of what I think everyone sees David’s capabilities,” manager John Farrell said.

Price will enter the All-Star break as the American League leader in strikeouts with 140, the most by a left-handed pitched before the break in Red Sox history. Sunday was his third straight outing with at least 10 strikeouts and his seventh time this season.

For the Red Sox to continue their recent success in the second half, they need Price to pitch like he has of late — the ace he was signed to be.

“Just keep going,” he said. “Whether your pitch well or pitch bad, just have a short memory. What I did today is not going to matter whenever I pitch next in my next start. Just have a short memory, keep working. Good things are going to happen.”

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Closing Time: David Price throws gem, David Ortiz homers as Red Sox go into break in style at 4:07 pm ET
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David Ortiz hit his 22nd home run of the year in the Red Sox' win over the Rays. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz hit his 22nd home run of the year in the Red Sox’ win over the Rays. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

In the final game before the All-Star break, Sunday afternoon’s tilt between the Red Sox and Rays possesed all of the things that went right for the Red Sox in the first half of the season, seemingly leaving the negatives back in June.

En route to a 4-0 win over the AL East-worst Rays, the Sox hit the ball well and often, were sound on defense, and were able to lean on their ace David Price.

With a first half of the season characterized by criticism of not living up to the “ace” status placed upon him, Price put together a masterful outing, going eight innings, allowing four hits with ten strikeouts and one walk.

“Mixed it up well, had some hard hit balls go at people and some good defensive plays,” said Price, citing specifically Jackie Bradley Jr.s throw in center field to nab Curt Casali at second base and Aaron Hill’s diving grab at third in the eighth inning.

“Whenever you can go out there and put up zeros at this level that’s always a good feeling,” he added.

The 30-year-old lefty is now 9-6 with a 4.38 ERA, down from the 4.64 ERA he entered the game with. He’s also struck out ten or more batters in seven of his 19 outings this season.

“I was never discouraged,” said Price when asked about if he was encouraged by the outing going into the All-Star break. “I never lost confidence in my ability and I know my coaching staff and my teammates didn’t either.”

The Red Sox jumped on Rays starter Jake Odorizzi, putting a three-spot on the 26-year-old in the first inning. After Mookie Betts moved to third after a lead off single on a Dustin Pedroia double, Xander Bogaerts drove a sacrifice fly into right field to score Betts.

The next at-bat, David Ortiz did what he does best, drilling a two-run home run into the Monster seats for his 22nd homer of the year. They would add another the following frame as Betts’ Texas leaguer to right field scored Sandy Leon.

The Red Sox got six of their eight hits in the game in the first two innings, with the other two coming in the seventh inning. Leon and Betts were the only Red Sox batters with multi-hit games, with Leon grabbing a single and a double while Betts hit three singles.

Newly-acquired Brad Ziegler got his first relief appearance as a member of the Red Sox, as he closed the game out in the ninth, striking out two.

Closing Time note

Price got more than two runs of support for the first time since May 29.

Here’s what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win.

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Read More: David Ortiz, David Price,
Red Sox lineup: Hanley Ramirez out for 2nd straight game at 12:24 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez

For the second game in a row, Hanley Ramirez will be out of the lineup for the Red Sox.

Ramirez left Friday’s game after fouling a ball of his leg, and has not played since. As a result, the Red Sox will run with the same lineup as Saturday, with Sandy Leon catching Red Sox starter David Price.

Newly-acquired reliever Brad Ziegler will also be available to pitch Sunday.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Aaron Hill, 3B
Travis Shaw, 1B
Bryce Brentz, LF
Sandy Leon, C
David Price, RHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Read More: Brad Ziegler, David Price, hanley ramirez, Sandy Leon
Sunday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: David Price vs. Jake Odorizzi at 8:48 am ET
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The Red Sox will call upon David Price while the Rays will use right-hander Jake Odorizzi on Sunday afternoon in the final game before the All-Star break.

Price is 8-6 with a 4.64 ERA and a 1.229 WHIP in 18 starts this year. In his last start on Tuesday, Price pitched eight innings and gave up three runs on eight hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts in a 7-2 loss to the Rangers.

“There’s nothing positive to point at right now. Threw 50 pitches through two, still went eight, we still lost. It doesn’t matter. I’ve got to be better. That’s why they brought me here. I’m not doing it right now,” Price said.

In that start, Price gave up a home run on the first pitch of the game to Shin-Soo Choo. Seven of the 16 home runs Price has given up this year have come on the first pitch to a batter.

Against the Rays, Price’s original team, the 30-year-old is 1-3 with a 6.52 ERA and 1.276 WHIP. Price’s last start against Tampa Bay came on June 29. Price went 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs, nine hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts. Price also faced the Rays on April 21. That start was Price’s worst of the season. He lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs on eight hits (two home runs) and two walks with five strikeouts.

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Red Sox manager John Farrell on D&H: New pitching coach Brian Bannister’s ‘information has been provided all year long’ to Red Sox 07.06.16 at 3:46 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

Red Sox manage John Farrell made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley with Thornton show on Wednesday to discuss Craig Kimbrel’s collapse on Tuesday and the addition of a new pitching coach. To hear the interview, visit the D&H audio on demand page.

Kimbrel, who was named an American League All-Star on Tuesday, failed to record an out in an appearance for the first time in his career. He let up four runs in the ninth inning, ultimately leading to a 7-2 Red Sox loss against the Rangers. Kimbrel has not always been at his best in non-save situations, but Farrell claimed that the closer would still be needed at times in situations like the one on Tuesday.

“There’s going to be times where we need him to pitch in non-save situations, much like in the ninth inning with the game tied,” Farrell said. “If you start to prove the criteria around he’s only going to get a save opportunity, that’s in the ninth inning with a three-run lead or less, who’s going to predict that? So there are days in which one, he’s going to need work. That was a game that was still very much in the balance and on the line. We’re looking at a zero, hopefully, in that spot, with the middle of the order coming, that we feel like with the left-handers against [Rangers relieve Sam Dyson] is a good matchup in our situation. Unfortunately, over the course of a very short period of time, 12 pitches, that game gets out of hand. I don’t think that final score is anywhere reflective of what took place in those first eight innings.”

In other Red Sox news, the team announced that pitching guru Brian Bannister now has a role on the pitching staff. The team’s struggles on the mound have been obvious, and Farrell says that Bannister’s knowledge of PITCHf/x, a system that helps evaluate the speed and trajectory of pitches, will help the Red Sox pitchers better understand what works for them and what doesn’t.

“Many of our pitchers have asked for kind of an overview from very specific data,” Farrell said. “The PITCHf/x has become such an integral part of pitcher evaluations, of performance evaluations, try to get a better read on what makes a pitcher most effective. That comes from pitch sequence, that comes from pitch type, how often do you use that certain type of pitch. That is what Brian’s niche is. … The example is this: If a pitcher thinks that his two-seam fastball is his best pitch, and yet there is very clear data that shows the life and movement of that being less than what it was at one point, we can now more readily and more clearly draw that picture for the pitcher. So when his back is against the wall, what pitch is he going to now vs. what his point of reference has been.”

Added Farrell: “His information has been provided all year long, now it’s a matter of having a direct connection to the pitchers that have previously requested this. To provide that, it’s a different viewpoint, it’s not a opinion of someone, this is factual, data-driven report or feedback given directly to the pitcher.”

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Read More: brian bannister, Brock Holt, Craig Kimbrel, David Price
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy on OM&F: ‘The focus is on improving the pitching’ before trade deadline at 2:26 pm ET
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Sam Kennedy

Sam Kennedy

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy joined the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show on Wednesday to discuss the team’s pitching struggles and the job security of John Farrell. To hear the full interview, visit the OM&F audio on demand page.

The Red Sox are coming off of a 7-2 loss Tuesday night against the Rangers in which David Price and Craig Kimbrel failed to dominate like they have in the past. The Red Sox rank 10th in team ERA (4.51), suggesting that a move for pitching help may be necessary.

“I just walked out of a meeting with [Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski] and [general manager] Mike Hazen and I can tell you the focus is on improving the pitching,” Kennedy said. “From our fourth and fifth spots in the rotation, our ERA is over 7.20, that’s hard to fathom. All that being said, we’re still in the thick of this thing, but it is frustrating to be sure, especially when you lose a game like last night when you’re on a little bit of a roll then you take a step backwards, so it’s frustrating.”

In Tuesday’s loss, Price gave up a home run on the first pitch of the game, and he allowed another run later in the inning. The outing was the latest example of Boston’s first-inning issues, as the team often falls behind and has to play catch-up. Kennedy admits to being frustrated by the first-inning funk but says he is not disappointed in any one player.

“It has been frustrating with these first-inning explosions from the other team,” Kennedy said. “I don’t have an answer for you, I don’t have an explanation other than to say you got to love David Price’s accountability. You got to love the fact that he’s leading all of baseball in innings pitched. … He’s got to be better, we all have to do better, and we believe that’s exactly what’s going to happen as we head to the second half.”

Added Kennedy: “I don’t think we’re disappointed in any one individual player, we’re a few games back, 45-38, not where we want to be. If the season ended today, we’d be in a one game wild card playoff. That’s really not where we want to be, we want to win this division. To say we’re disappointed is a bit of an overstatement, I think we aren’t where we want to be, we want to win this division, let’s be clear. Everybody feels that in the clubhouse and everybody feels that in the office, that’s the goal. So right now, we have our work cut out for us in front of us, and we have the right guys to get it done.”

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Read More: Dave Dombrowski, david oritz, David Price, mike hazen
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