Red Sox

McAdam: David Price helps to save an overworked bullpen with seven shutout innings

(Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox via Getty Images)

For a pitcher on the mound, it's best to keep focused on the target.

But you'll forgive David Price if, only metaphorically, he was looking both behind and ahead Sunday afternoon.

Price knew teammate Rick Porcello had managed just 12 outs in Saturday's loss, necessitating five long innings from Red Sox relievers to close out the game against the Baltimore Orioles. And he knew Monday's series finale will involve a spot start by Hector Velazquez, who, in a similar spot exactly a week ago, pitched effectively but briefly, giving the Sox just 39 pitches and three innings in Arizona.

Price knew what that meant: he needed to provide length to a depleted pitching staff. Of course, going deep into games is always a goal for starting pitchers. It's self-evident that the longer you stay on the mound, the better it is for your team.

But this was especially -- maybe even doubly -- true for the Red Sox on Sunday. Another four- or five-inning stint -- before Sunday, only four of the first 15 games saw a Red Sox starter get through the sixth -- and the Red Sox would have really been in a bad spot.