Red Sox southpaw David Price’s start Saturday against the Yankees was another rough outing for the longtime ace, who allowed six earned runs, seven hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings of an 8-2 defeat. After signing a record-setting contract with Boston over the winter, Price has gotten discouraging results in four of his first seven starts with his new club while posting a bloated 6.75 ERA. Along with Price’s subpar run prevention, his velocity is down this season, leading John Tomase of WEEI to wonder if there’s an issue with the 30-year-old. Both Price and manager John Farrell insist he’s healthy, though pitching coach Carl Willis acknowledged Price’s downturn in velocity Saturday. “Really, we just haven’t seen the velocity at this point that he’s had before,” he said (via Roger Rubin of ESPN.com). “It is May 7, so power pitchers tend to get it a little later, and we’re starting to get into May now.” Even with his velocity-related troubles, Price has still put up an 11.54 K/9, 2.93 FIP and 2.94 xFIP, indicating that a turnaround could be on the way.
Now for a quick look at the NL East…
- Thanks in part to his ridiculously hot start this season (.402/.448/.654 with four home runs in 116 plate appearances), Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy has compiled a 142 wRC+ over the past calendar year, including playoffs, to put himself in company with stars like Buster Posey and Anthony Rizzo. His resounding success is no accident, writes FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron, who points to some meaningful adjustments Murphy has made to facilitate his offensive explosion. For one, Murphy has changed his stance, as tweeted by Mike Petriello of MLB.com, and is now both less upright and closer to the plate than he previously was. He has also markedly increased his pull percentage each year since 2013 and is hitting fewer balls on the ground, leading to more line drives and extra-base hits. While Cameron doesn’t expect Murphy to be the best offensive second baseman in the game going forward, it seems the Nats may have gotten themselves a bargain when they signed the ex-Met to a three-year, $37.5MM deal in the offseason.
- Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud has been on the disabled list since April 26 with a rotator cuff strain and doesn’t appear primed to return in the near future, as he felt discomfort while trying to throw a ball Saturday, Adam Rubin of ESPN.com was among those to report. “Pretty discouraging for him and us,” said manager Terry Collins. Mets catchers Kevin Plawecki and Rene Rivera have collected just eight hits in 46 at-bats while filling in for d’Arnaud this year. Prior to landing on the DL, d’Arnaud also got off to a forgettable start (.196/.288/.261 in 52 plate appearances) and contributed to the Mets’ offensive woes behind the plate. Mets backstops have thus far posted a 60 wRC+, the ninth-worst mark in the majors.