It's not surprising David Price has won three of his first five starts with the Boston Red Sox. It is that the other two haven't stuck him with losses. The run support he got after being traded to Toronto at the deadline last season was immense, but the Red Sox are making him feel even more at home.
Next up is his first start as part of the rivalry with the New York Yankees Sunday night at Fenway Park as the Red Sox attempt a three-game sweep.
Price (3-0, 5.76 ERA) doesn't have the ERA to match his record, but the victories have been legit with a 2.57 mark, .218 opponent batting average, and 33 strikeouts in 21 innings. Breaking those wins up, however, are two no-decisions in Boston losses amounting to a 13.50 ERA and .333 OBA.
The latest was on the good side with the left-hander turning in his best start of April with two runs and six hits allowed and 14 strikeouts in eight innings of Tuesday's 11-4 win in Atlanta.
"That's as crisp and as sharp as we've seen David this year," manager John Farrell told MLB's official website.
While the lineup kept producing for him - his 8.80 RSA is up from the 8.60 mark he had in 11 starts with the Blue Jays - he was just happy to pitch beyond the seventh.
"I want to get 27 outs every five days," said Price, who now needs to level out at home, where he's gone 1-0 with an 8.62 ERA in three starts. "Twenty-four is good."
The AL East veteran has seen plenty of the Yankees, and after giving up a combined 16 runs in 4 1/3 innings of his last 2014 and first '15 start against them, he's gone 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in his last four. Brian McCann is 10 for 29 (.345) with three home runs, but Price has held Mark Teixeira to 13 for 64 (.203) and Alex Rodriguez is 14 of 59 (.237) with 24 strikeouts.
After Saturday's 8-0 win, the Red Sox (14-10) have won six of seven overall and five of six against New York dating to last season. The Yankees (8-14) are on their second four-game losing streak of the young year.
Boston has enjoyed an 8-3 span with plenty of offense, scoring 6.09 runs per game and batting .312 with David Ortiz homering in both games of the series and hitting .423 in his last seven. No. 9 hitter Jackie Bradley Jr. had two triples, a double and three RBIs to bump his average on a seven-game hitting streak to .370 with nine RBIs.
"Obviously Jackie is swinging a very good bat right now," Farrell said. "David with a big swing to stretch it to 5-0. We did a number of things well in this game tonight."
New York's has been limited to nine runs with a .208 average over a 1-5 skid. Jacoby Ellsbury is 1 for 14 in his last four, while fellow table-setter Brett Gardner is 3 for 23 in his last six.
"It's frustrating," Gardner said. "I feel like we have a good team, a good offensive unit. ... Right now, things obviously are going more wrong than right."
The Yankees send Nathan Eovaldi to the mound. The right-hander is also coming off his best start after holding Texas to two hits over seven scoreless innings in last Sunday's 3-1 road win.
"I feel like I've gotten better each outing," Eovaldi (1-2, 4.38) said. "For it all to come together tonight, it was nice."
Eovaldi has won both of his starts in Boston with a 3.86 ERA, and he's lucky to have Pablo Sandoval's 13-for-20 career mark against him on the disabled list. Hanley Ramirez is 5 for 13, but Xander Bogaerts is 1 for 8.