BOSTON — David Price takes the mound Saturday night for the Boston Red Sox in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, winless in his nine previous postseason starts.

“Just another game,” Price said of facing the New York Yankees. “Don’t treat it any differently. … That’s what I need to do.”

Price later admitted with a laugh, “that was my generic answer … I’ve been asked (about his postseason record) quite a while now.”

Price, 33, holds a 2-8 playoff record – both wins in relief – and 5.03 ERA.

Bosotn manager Alex Cora, not surprisingly, said he’s not worried.

“He’s been one of the best pitchers in the big leagues for a long, long time,” Cora said. “We get caught up in the numbers and the playoffs and all that.

“I still remember he pitched Game 163 in Texas and he threw a complete game (a 5-2 win for Tampa Bay in 2013).”

In Price’s Boston playoff debut in 2016, he lasted 31/3 innings against Cleveland, allowing six hits and five earned runs.

Price battled injuries last year, but threw 62/3 scoreless innings in the playoffs against Houston.

Price is 16-7 this year with a 3.58 ERA. Concerns elevated on July 1 when he gave up five runs at Yankee Stadium in an 11-1 loss. But Price made adjustments and started to pitch up in the zone.

He struggled in his next start, but since then has been 7-1 with a 2.41 ERA. In a game against the Yankees in Fenway in August, he allowed two runs in six innings while getting a non-decision in a 5-4 Boston win.

“I moved the ball round,” Price said. “It’s something I’ve done a really good job of in my career.

During a press conference Friday, Price was asked continually about his postseason struggles.

“I don’t want this to be about me, and me not winning,” he said. “I want to go out (Saturday) and help the Red Sox win.

“But if I lose the entire playoffs, and we win the World Series, I’ll take that.”

THE RED SOX roster was set Friday for the ALDS and did not include reliever Heath Hembree. Boston opted for Joe Kelly and Brandon Workman as early right-handed options. Hembree had a 4.20 ERA and 1.33 WHIP (compared to Kelly’s 4.39/1.36), but Hembree was hit hard over most of August and September (14 innings, 10 earned run, five homers).

“He was doing a good job throughout the season,” Cora said of Hembree. “But towards the end, it didn’t work out. Actually, he wasn’t keeping the ball in the ballpark. … He struggled with his slider, his off-speed pitches, and he paid the price.

“We do feel Joe is trending up. His velocity is still there. It’s still 100. His change-up is getting better. His slider is getting better. Workman, the combination of fastball and curveball, it fits what we’re trying to accomplish against (the Yankees).”

JOEY CORA, Alex’s older brother – and the Pittsburgh Pirates’ third base coach – was at Fenway Friday night.

“He stays away from the baseball side of it with me,” Alex said. “He’s just here as a fan to cheer his brother. … Hopefully, he has good tickets and he enjoys it.”

TROT NIXON threw out the ceremonial first pitch Friday, caught by Dustin Pedroia. The last time the Yankees and Red Sox met in the postseason in 2004, Nixon started in right field for Boston. Nixon, 44, is from North Carolina and, before the game, was outside Fenway collecting donations for victims of Hurricane Florence.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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Twitter: @ClearTheBases

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