Complete Game Dave | The Process Report

Complete Game Dave

David Price threw his third complete game, on Wednesday night, in his fifth start since returning from the disabled list.

Price’s run of excellence smells like something from Cliff Lee’s garden. He’s dismantled lineups in a humbling and efficient manner, and he hasn’t topped 100 pitches because he hasn’t needed to yet. It may seem unlike Price to have just 27 strikeouts in 41 innings—a rate that translates to fewer than six Ks per nine innings—but he’s issued one walk and, as the pitch counts attest, has coerced outs early in counts.

Everything starts with the fastball, as it so often does. But Price’s dependency on his heater exceeds other pitchers, and he’s able to ride his fastball combination because of velocity, movement, and location. While velocity is the easiest of the three to measure, Price’s willingness to cut the ball works well with his natural tailing action. Add in his ability to paint the blacks, locate down in the zone, and challenge batters with elevated heat and he’s the archetype for a premium fastball pitcher.

It’s worth noting that Price has seemingly taken on the James Shields role as the staff leader, at least if the in-game interaction means anything, and it’s obvious the young pitchers—Chris Archer, in particular—admire the tall southpaw. Other pitchers are the best reference, and being one of the best pitchers in the game has a tendency to increase the meaningfulness of their words. It’s unknown how much, if any, Price’s insight has impacted the others’ game, but the sense of family within the group can’t hurt.

The early-season struggles and injury aside, Price is again reminding people that he’s the franchise’s best pitcher and a legitimate ace. He’s become every bit as good as the Rays hoped when they made him the first-overall pick in 2007.

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