Red Sox-Giants Preview
SAN FRANCISCO -- The last time All-Stars David Price and Madison Bumgarner pitched against each other, six runs were scored in the first inning.
So perhaps it's fitting that on the eve of Wednesday's rematch between the Boston Red Sox and the San Francisco Giants, everybody was talking about hitting.
Price will have to bat in the interleague game, and that's often been an adventure. The Red Sox ace is just 2-for-39 (.051) in his career, having gone 0-for-his-last 29.
The left-handed hitter has never gotten a hit (0-for-8 with six strikeouts) against a lefty pitcher.
That said, Price is looking forward to the challenge of facing Bumgarner.
"It's fun," he said of hitting. "You get to be a part of the baseball game both offensively and pitching. So it takes you back to being a kid, and I enjoy it."
Price didn't enjoy the only time he's pitched against Bumgarner. He gave up four runs in the first inning in that game on Sept. 6, 2014 while pitching for the Detroit Tigers.
Bumgarner wasn't at his best that night in Detroit, either, allowing three runs on 10 hits in six innings. But it was good enough to win the head-to-head 5-4.
Pitchers didn't bat in that game at an American League site, but they will in San Francisco on Wednesday.
That means Price on the mound will have to deal with the right-handed-hitting Bumgarner, who is the active leader in home runs by a pitcher with 13, 11 of which having come in the last three seasons.
Bumgarner is coming off arguably his best week as a home run hitter.
It began with a two-run homer, his second of the season, Thursday at Atlanta, and continued over the weekend with a batting-practice session so powerful Sunday in St. Louis, it had him talking about taking a shot at the annual Home Run Derby during the All-Star break next month.
"I'll do it for sure," he insisted Tuesday. "If they ask me to do it, I'll do it."
Bumgarner currently shares the major league lead for homers by a pitcher with the New York Mets' Noah Syndergaard. But padding his impressive power numbers isn't likely against Price.
The Red Sox ace has never allowed a hit, let alone a homer, against an opposing pitcher, an 0-for-28 streak that includes 14 strikeouts.
Both lefties come into the game in top pitching form.
Price (7-2) has recorded five consecutive quality starts, during which he's gone 3-1 with a 2.62 ERA.
He has struck out 31 in 34 1/3 innings in those games, raising his season total to 84, third best in the American League.
Bumgarner (7-2) not only homered in his last start but also shut out the Braves on four hits over 7 2/3 innings, striking out 11.
He's allowed only three runs in his last five starts, and the Giants have won each of the last eight games he's pitched.