Coming off two straight solid starts to cap off a rough month of April for David Price, Tampa Bay's ace was pretty much at his absolute worst Saturday night in Denver.
Price was knocked around right from the get-go, as the Rockies jumped out to a quick lead in the first with a rally. Troy Tulowitzki—who returned to the lineup from injury in this game—began what would be a big night with a line drive RBI single to right.
The Rays wouldn't score their first run until the top of the third, when they took the lead with a three-run frame. James Loney—who had yet another 3-hit night—hit an opposite field double to tie up the game at 1-1. Kelly Johnson continued the opportunistic two-out hitting with a go-ahead two-run single to right.
That would be really the end of Tampa's night offensively, and unfortunately only the beginning of a disastrous night for Price.
Tulowitzki would tie the game back up in the bottom half of the third with two-run double over the head of Matt Joyce in right. In the fifth, Carlos Gonzalez blasted a go-ahead solo shot to straightaway center, and then in the seventh Colorado would break the game open with a five runs. Nolan Arenado's grand slam drove Price out the game.
He exited the ballgame with this ugly line: 6.2 IP, 11 H, 9 ER, 3 BB, 5 K.
At this point, Rays fans are really just waiting for their Cy Young award-winning ace to get his act together. Reduced velocity seems to be a significant factor in Price's slow start to the year. To be it comes as a bit of a concern, as his average fastball velocity is about 2 MPH less than less season's. Although Price's velocity usually isn't at full speed early in the season, take note that at this point last year he was throwing about 1 MPH faster on average.
The Rays will go for a series victory this afternoon at always hitter-friendly Coors Field. Alex Cobb (3-2, 2.55 ERA) will start the rubber match against Jhoulys Chacin (3-0, 1.46 ERA); first pitch at 4:10 ET. First baseman Todd Helton is expected to return from the DL.
News and Notes:
- Yunel Escobar is day-to-day after being hit by a pitch in the left wrist in the second inning of Saturday's game. X-rays came back negative, and it's luckily just a contusion.
- Jake McGee appears to be mixing in a new slider to add to his virtually one-pitch arsenal.
- Former Ray star Scott Kazmir, who has been one of the better comeback stories in baseball so far, picked up his first win since 2010 yesterday.
- Top prospect Wil Myers appears to be in a slump; 5 for his last 34 with 15 strikeouts. ESPN's Jim Bowden, however, says that he's progressing pretty well down in Durham.
- If you haven't already heard, this was the outcome of last week's incident between David Price and umpire Tom Hallion.
- Around the AL East: The O's topped the Angels 5-4 in 10 innings, the Yankees beat Oakland 4-2 as Phil Hughes continues to roll, the Red Sox fell to the Rangers 5-1, and Toronto lost 8-1 to Seattle.