ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Boston Red Sox are paying left-handed pitcher David Price $30 million this season, the first of a seven-year, $217 million contract. So one can imagine the angst Price's performance has caused so far this season.
Price will get the start for Boston on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, still searching for ways to regain the form that enticed the Red Sox into spending so much on the 30-year-old.
Twenty-one starts into the season, Price's 4.51 ERA is a bit concerning, considering it's a full run higher than any ERA he has had in the big leagues since his first season in 2009 with Tampa Bay.
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He has managed to win nine games, but much of that is thanks to a Red Sox offense that leads the majors in runs scored. He hasn't faced the Angels yet this year and is a mediocre 5-5 with a 3.59 ERA in 12 career starts against them.
Coming off a poor performance in his last start -- he allowed five runs and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins -- he simply needs to make better pitches to turn things around.
"Honestly, I feel good, I feel healthy," Price told MLB.com. "I feel good out there on the mound. I feel confident. I'm just not making good pitches. That's what it boils down to. You can feel bad out there and still go out there and execute pitches and get good results. It doesn't matter how good you feel if you don't go out there and execute."
With the Red Sox in the middle of a race for the American League East title, Price can still be a force down the stretch and into the playoffs should the club get there.
"I'm still confident in myself, absolutely," Price said. "I'd go out there and pitch tomorrow if they'd let me. My confidence is not altered. I don't listen to the outside noise. I know my teammates and the coaching staff have a lot of confidence in me. I haven't really given them reason to have a lot of confidence in me this year. I just have to pitch better."
Price will face Angels right-hander Jered Weaver, who has had issues of his own. Weaver has shown he can pitch well with diminished fastball velocity, but if he misses spots, he's in trouble.
Weaver is 8-8 with a 5.32 ERA in 19 starts this season. He has been really good or really bad. He has had eight starts in which he has allowed two earned runs or fewer, including a three-hit shutout of the A's on June 19.
But he has had six starts in which he has given up five earned runs or more. He is 4-6 with a 4.16 ERA in 16 career starts against Boston.
Weaver's biggest problem has been the home run ball. He has given up 23 homers this season, fifth most among American League pitchers. With the weather hot in Anaheim lately, the air will be light on Thursday night.
"It's no secret that I need a big park to pitch my game," Weaver told MLB.com. "It's been the story of my career, really."