TORONTO -- David Price has pitched at Fenway Park 11 times in the regular season and once in the postseason but none of those experiences will feel quite like Monday afternoon, when he steps on that mound wearing the home whites with nearly 40,000 passionate fans roaring with every strike.
After dominating the Indians in his Red Sox debut on Opening Day, perhaps it's only fitting that Price also gets the nod at the 2:05 p.m. ET home opener against the Orioles, an occurrence made possible when a rainout last week pushed everyone in the rotation back a day.
Red Sox fans have greatly anticipated watching Price pitch ever since signing a seven-year, $217-million contract last offseason to come to the team that he competed against for so many seasons.
Fenway can be a tough place for a visiting lefty, but Price has almost always thrived there, going 6-2 with a 2.56 ERA. The only off-night was in Game 2 of the 2013 American League Division Series, when he surrendered seven runs in seven innings. In 10 of Price's 12 starts in Boston, he has allowed two earned runs or less.
"I love the mound, first and foremost," Price said. "It's definitely a big factor. I feel like I'm extremely close to the catcher. That's not always the same in every ballpark, how far the backstop is to the catcher and that umpire. It plays a little bit differently in different parks. I'm really close to the catcher, and it's a comfort thing."
As Fenway Park opens its gates for a 105th season of baseball, there will be a buzz in the air on a day that annually feels like a holiday in Boston.
David Ortiz is in the early stages of his final season with the Red Sox, and he figures to get a loud and long ovation during pregame introductions.
"I would think so," manager John Farrell said. "But I don't necessarily think that changes our approach in any way. David always draws the camera or draws the attention or the spotlight wherever he goes. We've been accustomed to that for quite some time. But I think for those that will be in the stands tomorrow, maybe the first, last time for David. But hopefully we're going to get a year full of that excitement as he closes things out."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.