At least Alan Dershowitz will be happy. Eliot Tatelman, too.
And Anne Funucane, Jim Davis, Tom Kershaw, Steve DeFillippo, Ed Kane, George Regan, Mike O’Malley, Joseph Abboud, Wyc Grousbeck and the rest of the well-heeled Fenway Opening Day Faithful are sure to be thrilled to see David Price take the hill as the Red Sox newly-minted ace in the team’s home opener Monday against the Orioles.
After Thursday’s rainout became official in Cleveland, Red Sox manager John Farrell — who previously had stated that Price would pitch every fifth day even with rainouts and off days in the schedule — announced that the $217 million ace would be held back a day and will now pitch Monday at Fenway rather than Sunday in Toronto on his normal four days rest. Fill-in fifth starter knuckleballer Steven Wright will close out the series at Rogers Centre, following Joe Kelly on Friday and Rick Porcello on Saturday.
The Toronto Blue Jays won the AL East by six games last season, going 93-69, and they enter the 2016 season as the prohibitive favorite in the division thanks to a lineup that absolutely crushes baseballs. Price owns the Blue Jays in his career, going 16-2 in 21 starts with a 2.41 ERA.
Adding insult to injury, Price is 11-1 with a 3.34 ERA in 15 career starts in Toronto. He breezed through the Indians lineup for his first win in the Opener. Imagine the roar at Fenway if Price returned home 2-0 coming off a Blue Jays shutdown.
Price could have made a statement on Sunday by letting the Jays know the Red Sox are back in business. But that’s not going to happen because God forbid Wright gets his 2016 debut delayed by another week. Seriously?
“It’ll be a treat for our fans to see him on Opening Day,” Farrell said before leaving Cleveland. “That’ll be a good thing.”
And I’m sure it’s also a good thing for the Red Sox marketing department, who find themselves in the unthinkable position of having to sell season tickets this year. Something unimaginable as recently as 2007.
Farrell spoke more about the decision Friday in Toronto.
“Our thought coming out of spring training was David was going to pitch Monday [April 4] and we’d roll him back around on Saturday here tomorrow in Game 2,” Farrell said during the pregame show on WEEI. “Then he would be on tap to get an extra day rest the next time through on Friday back home against Toronto once again. When we started to miss days and then all of a sudden you’re looking at two and possible three guys in that rotation getting pushed further back, I think it begins to accumulate against you in that way. We tried to keep our entire rotation as close to their normal day as possible, rather than just looking at one guy in particular and keeping him on a set schedule.
“It was more a decision keeping everyone close to their normal routine as opposed to one. This pushes David Price back into the home opener when we get back off this road trip. It keeps us all with three right-hander starters against a predominately right-handed hitting lineup up here in Toronto. Those are the reasons and factors that went into this.”
If Farrell is still around in September he could rue the day he skipped Price if it cost the southpaw an extra game on the mound and the Sox find themselves in the same must-win-and-cross-fingers position as your Boston Bruins are this weekend.