Price looking for first playoff win as starter

Boston Red Sox starter David Price pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 29, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

CLEVELAND (AP) — David Price wants to make his next postseason start unlike all his others.

“I want to go out there and win,” he said. “I want to be dominant. I want to have that really good postseason game, and I know that I’m capable of doing that.”

That would be a first.

Boston’s left-hander is 0-7 in the postseason as a starter going into Game 2 of the AL Division Series, where he faces the Indians and right-hander Corey Kluber on Friday. The 30-year-old has pitched in the playoffs since 2010, when he was with Tampa Bay. He went 0-4 with the Rays, 0-1 with Detroit and 0-2 in two starts last year for Toronto after he was traded to the Blue Jays at the July 31 deadline.

Price is 0-for-October, but there’s nothing he can do about what has happened previously. He doesn’t make excuses for his lack of postseason success, the only major blemish on an otherwise stellar career.

He’s won a Cy Young Award, pitched in five All-Star Games and averaged 15 wins in his eight big league seasons. But there remains a big, fat zero on his payoff resume.

Red Sox manager John Farrell doesn’t think Price’s postseason past haunts — or drives — him.

“Getting to know him over the course of this year I don’t know that he puts a whole lot of stock in what has happened or the anticipation of what lies ahead,” Farrell said. “He’s really good at staying on task and what’s needed today. He’s probably reminded by some things by other people. But in terms of just a sheer competitor, a good teammate, a great teammate, a guy that wants to be the guy in the moment, he is certainly prepared for that tomorrow.”

Boston signed him to a $217 million, seven-year contract as a free agent in December, an acquisition and investment the club hoped would get them back to the playoffs and Price on the game’s biggest stage.

Price he got off to the start Red Sox Nation was expecting before posting a 1-4 record in June. But Price picked it up in the second half, going 8-2 in his last 13 starts.

Any pitcher in the league would be thrilled with a 17-9 record and 3.99 ERA. Price, though, felt he should have done more.

“I didn’t throw the baseball the way that I know I can throw it,” said Price, who will be pitching Friday on normal rest. “Over the course of 32, 33 starts I didn’t do that. I got off to a very bad start after opening day. It took me a while to rebound from that. I threw the ball a lot better in the second half of the year. And I feel good. I feel good mentally, physically and I’m excited to pitch tomorrow.”

Price said he doesn’t feel any more pressure being Boston’s big gun, the one expected to take the ball every five days and win.

He’s got the gargantuan contract, which has brought more scrutiny, but it doesn’t fuel his desire.

“I haven’t applied more pressure to myself this year as opposed to last year,” he said. “Last year to me I felt like was a better year, that was my free agent year. I felt I handled it extremely well. And this year, as well. I just didn’t throw the baseball well. And that’s all on me. It’s not the added pressure or pitching in Boston, anything like that. Trying to pitch up to my contract, it wasn’t any of those things. I just didn’t throw the baseball well. And I moved forward from that and I don’t think about that stuff.”

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