Welcome back David Price, how’s about you stick around for a while?! The Tampa Bay Rays blanked Houston for the second consecutive day, as David Price regained his dominant Cy Young Award winning form in an 8-0 shutout of the lowly Astros. The Rays posted back-to-back shutouts for the second time this season, and the seventh time in club history, while the offense put crooked numbers on the board for the second consecutive day.
Price faced just one batter over the minimum in his nearly flawless 70 pitch (48 for strikes) 7 IP/3 H/0 R/0 BB/10 K outing. There were some concerns over a loss of fastball velocity prior to his stint on the DL, but Price’s fastball averaged nearly 96 mph in his return performance, and those concerns fell bay the wayside. His fastball control was also something to behold. Price was able to lock-up batters with pinpoint accuracy, wringing up eight batters on caught looking strikeouts.
Following the game, Price was quoted as saying,
“That’s probably the best I’ve felt on a baseball field maybe in my entire life…I felt like that’s the most control I’ve had of a baseball game in a very long time. I think that was better than I threw the ball really at any point last year. – David Price on last night’s start”
Frankly, this is the kind of pitching performance the Rays need to see our of their ace if they’re going to be competitive beyond September.
Price’s pitch breakout: two-seam fastball (27 thrown, 19 for strikes, 2 whiffs), four-seam fastball (7 thrown, 5 for strikes, 1 whiff), change-up (19 thrown, 13 for strikes, 3 whiffs), curveball (6 thrown, 5 for strikes, 1 whiff), cutter (11 thrown, 6 for strikes).
The offense was explosive for the second consecutive game, scoring eight runs on 12 hits and six walks. Desmond Jennings lead the charge, going three-for-five with two runs and four runs batted in. Batting in the leadoff spot, Jennings reached base safely on a pair of singles in the first and fourth innings, while also mashing a two-run blast to left-field in the sixth (putting him four away from surpassing his 2012 home run total).
Yunel Escobar was mightily productive at the plate and in the field, hitting a two run double in the top of the ninth inning while also making a handful of outstanding defensive plays for the second consecutive day. Evan Longoria was back in the lineup hitting in the DH spot, while Kelly Johnson held down the fort at third base. Longo went two-for-four after missing the past three games with inflammation of his plantar fasciitis.
The Rays are now within two games of second place in the AL East following the Tampa Bay win and Baltimore’s loss.
The New What Next
Roberto Hernandez will follow his solid eight inning outing against the Blue Jays, with a start against Bud Norris and the Astros Wednesday night. You can read about the pitching match-up here.
Rays 7/3/13 Starting Lineup
- The Rays signed RHP draftee Ryan Stanek Tuesday, for the slot value of $1,758,300. Stanek, 21, will report to Port Charlotte today to start getting back to game shape, then will be assigned to short-season Class A Hudson Valley to be used as a starter. Tampa Bay has now signed 33 of their 41 picks
- Per Marc Topkin, Alex Cobb (mild concussion) is making steady progress, playing catch from 90 feet Tuesday at the Trop and using the elliptical for the first time since getting hit in the head with a line drive June 15.
- Sweet Jesus, Manny Ramirez is back. Per MLB Trade Rumors, the Texas Rangers are set to sign the once Ray to a minor league contract. Bright side: If his 1-for-17 stint with the Rays is indicative of anything, he’s not nearly as intimidating as he once was. By the by, when did the Rangers become the Yankees? You know, the team who filter feeds the bottom of the barrel for any and every has-been with an ounce of juice left in their system.