Without a doubt, David Price took the hill Friday with a couple of factors weighing on his shoulders. I’d imagine Cesar Ramos’ impending start Sunday was ever-present in the back of Price’s mind — leaving Price with the realization that an über quality start would save the bullpen from being overworked. His previous 6 IP/4 ER outing undoubtedly factored into his desire to be dominant Friday as well. Whatever the case, the Reds’ struggling lineup didn’t fare well against Price, who was on last night. The Rays walked away from Great American Ballpark with their first victory against the Reds in Cincinnati (their second franchise win overall) on the heels of a 2-1 win.
Price was able to command his fastball (21 thrown, 19 strikes) to all quadrants of the zone. And like the ace he is, once the Reds batters adjusted to his plus fastball, Price kept them off balance with his change-up (33 thrown, 24 strikes, 12 whiffs). Price posted a 8.1 IP/4 H/1 HR/1 ER/1 BB/10 K line on 114 pitches (85 for strikes, 75%) line, ending his outing only after Joey Votto tagged him for a solo shot in the ninth inning.
David Price did get into a few precarious situations, though he effectively squashed the Reds uprisings — keeping the Rays in the game throughout. Devin Mesoraco led off the third with a double into the left-field alley. With the Reds threatening, Zack Cozart hit a hard liner to the right of second base. Thankfully, Ben Zobrist made an excellent, run saving, diving catch. Johnny Cueto and Billy Hamilton followed with a sac-bunt (moving Mesoraco to third) and an infield pop-out to end the inning. Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto reached on a double and a walk (respectively) to lead off the fourth, but Price stepped up his game, striking out the next two batters before getting a fly ball out in center to end the inning.
On the offensive end of things, the Rays were able to tag Johnny Cueto for a pair of runs. Cueto wasn’t especially sharp in the front three innings (giving up three walks and four hits), though he progressively got better from the third inning on, keeping the game manageable. The Rays scored their first run after Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce worked a pair of one out walks. Evan Longoria bounced a grounder through the left side of the infield, and Jennings scored from third. Longo’s first inning RBI represented the Rays first run batted in this week with runners in scoring position, outside of the ninth inning. That is, they’ve been horrendous wRISP in innings 1-8 this week. The other run came in the third, when Matt Joyce hit a mammoth 452 foot blast to right, off a hanging cutter.
The New What Next
Alex Cobb looks to put together another strong outing following a solid 7 IP/3 H/0 R start against the Rangers, Sunday. He’ll be opposed by RHP Alfredo Simon. You can read more about the pitching match-up in our series preview.
Rays 4/12/14 Starting Lineup
- At 1-9 wRISP, it would be an understatement to say the Rays left a little meat on the bone.
- DRaysBay’s Ian Malinowski said it best, “In the top of the eighth, Loney stood at first base when Wil Myers hit a groundball to shortstop in the hole. Myers beat the throw easily for an infield hit, but Loney decided to try to go first to third. He was thrown out by a good couple feet. Not a good decision, but it does show that the Rays are making it a point of being aggressive on the basepaths this year.”
- Grant Balfour made things interesting in the ninth after he loaded the bases on three consecutive walks. Balfour threw 25 pitches in 2/3 of inning, yet only 10 were strikes (two whiffs).