FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Even before the Red Sox finished off the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2018 World Series, David Price was already looking forward to this year's spring training.
When he won the pennant-clinching game in Houston, turning in six shutout innings and beating the Astros in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series and sending the Sox to the Series, Price effectively exorcized his demons.
No longer could it be said he couldn't win in October. No more could it be said the pressure got to him.
That night, as the champagne flowed in the Minute Maid Park visitor's clubhouse, the relief was evident on his face.
"I don't have to prepare myself for (the question about postseason struggles) in spring training,'' said Price after the victory.
You could almost watch as the burden was lifted for Price. The 11 previous starts on his postseason resume were washed away, all past sins forgiven.
The storyline was done.
And so, when Price made his first Grapefruit League start on Tuesday against one of his former teams, the Detroit Tigers, he could treat it for what it was: the beginning of the slow buildup to Opening Day. Nothing more, nothing less.
He didn't have to explain anything or rationalize his past. This was a plain, old exhibition game.