Mechanical tweak transforms Price into old self

Red Sox's ace fans 12 Astros after heeding Pedroia's advice

Mechanical tweak transforms Price into old self

BOSTON -- David Price first did some work in the video room with the help of teammate Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox's coaching staff last weekend at Yankee Stadium. When the ace left-hander saw that something was clearly wrong, he tried to fix it during his side work.

But the most reassuring development came on the Fenway Park mound on Thursday night, when Price demonstrated that his modifications were the right ones in a dominant performance as the Red Sox routed the Astros, 11-1.

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After giving up six earned runs or more in three of his previous four starts, Price looked like the ace Boston has been expecting, striking out 12 and allowing one run and one walk over 6 2/3 innings.

"I allowed myself to get into my power position," said Price. "That's something I've worked on the last four days leading up to this start. That was a big key for me, and it helped out a lot."

The fix seemed obvious after Pedroia helped Price spot it. Price wasn't extending his arms upward through his delivery and seemed to be losing power because of it.

After making the alteration, Price regained his power, topping out at 96 mph and reaching an average four-seam fastball velocity of 94.2 mph. In Price's last start, he averaged 92.4 mph and topped out at 93.5.

"Strong outing for David," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He was much more free. He leveraged the ball downhill much more consistently. I thought there was better finish to all four of his pitches through the strike zone. He was powerful, probably as much as we've seen all year. I would think he comes out of tonight feeling pretty good."

The Fenway faithful did their part to make Price feel good, giving him a loud ovation when he walked off the mound with two outs in the seventh.

"That's a big reason why I came here," said Price. "I know it's one of the toughest places to play, but I know it's the best place to play and win. And I want to be good at home."

As Price struggled in his first few weeks with the Red Sox, there was some thought that the pressure of the market was a factor. But Price has been steadfast in saying that hasn't been an issue.

"I don't read what you guys write; I don't listen to talk radio," said Price. "I don't watch MLB Network or ESPN. That stuff doesn't affect me. That's not part of what I do or what I'm about. I know I'm capable of throwing the baseball, and that's what I expect to do."

Plenty of other people expect nothing less.

"I think that's him," said right fielder Mookie Betts. "I don't know about the mechanical thing -- that's over my head -- but he was able to command all of his pitches and get a lot of strikeouts."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.