Red Sox-Braves Preview
The Boston Red Sox brought in David Price to lead the top of their rotation, but he's still searching for answers four outings into an erratic start to his tenure.
Facing the Atlanta Braves has often been the cure for what ails any starter.
After what transpired in his latest uncharacteristic start, Price might settle for feeling a little less comfortable when he tries to deal the powerless Braves their seventh straight loss Tuesday night before this two-city series shifts to Fenway Park.
"That's the best I've felt," Price told the league's official website after allowing eight runs over 3 2/3 innings Thursday in a 12-8 home loss to Tampa Bay. "That's the most disappointing thing. To feel as good as I felt, I want to be able to go out there and get the results that I expect."
Price is 2-0 with a 7.06 ERA so far with the Red Sox (10-9). The highest ERA through four starts in his career isn't that unfathomable, though. The left-hander's 4.20 mark in April is easily his worst of any month.
"I think with power pitchers... (this is) still a building phase of arm strength and overall command, and we may just be seeing that," manager John Farrell said.
Price has gone 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA in three career starts versus Atlanta. He allowed one run while striking out nine over seven innings in a 9-1 road win while pitching for Toronto on Sept. 16.
That Braves team scored the fewest runs in the majors and this one is just as anemic at getting runners across the plate. Atlanta (4-15) has totaled 11 runs with just seven extra-base hits and 55 strikeouts during a losing streak that reached six as Rick Porcello threw 6 1/3 strong innings and Jackie Bradley Jr. homered in Boston's 1-0 victory Monday.
The Braves' homerless stretch reached an unthinkable 14 games, matching the longest streak in their Atlanta history.
Freddie Freeman went 2 for 3 in his first game since getting dropped from third to sixth in the order. The first baseman is hitting just .200 with one of the Braves' three homers.
''I think by putting him in that spot it was nice to just have fun, Just play baseball and don't worry about carrying the team," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He's not a number six hitter, believe me.''
Atlanta has provided Matt Wisler with one run over his last two starts. The right-hander threw a career-high 115 pitches Thursday and didn't allow an earned run over 6 2/3 innings in a 2-1, 10-inning loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"He's been getting better and better every time out," Gonzalez said.
Wisler (0-1, 3.10 ERA) gets his first look at a Boston team that averaged 6.2 runs and batted .340 over a five-game stretch before finishing with just six hits Monday.
The Red Sox have won 11 of 14 road meetings and nine of the past 11 overall.