David Price Leads Rays To Playoffs
Prior to Game 163, many keystrokes were dedicated to David Price’s previous issues against the Texas Rangers; specifically those that bat right-handed. I briefly spoke on the topic in a preview piece for GammonsDaily.com
“A lot has been written about David Price’s struggles with the Texas Rangers in the past; however, this is a different Rangers’ offense and a different Price. Previously, Price attacked the Rangers’ right-handed batters primarily with fastballs and changeups away. Now, the 28-year-old shows a willingness to attack righties inside while setting up his cutter – a pitch developed over the past year – on the outside corner. If he can establish this process early on, the result may be different this time around.”
From 2009 to 2012, Price made eight regular season starts against the Rangers. In 43 2/3 innings, he allowed 29 runs on 46 hits and 19 walks. Right-handed Rangers accounted for 38 of those hits and 18 walks. But like I said above, this is a different Texas team and a different David Price.
The prior version of Price pitched the Rangers’ righties on the outer half of the plate. He threw primarily fastballs (66 percent) with a sprinkling of changeups and breaking balls.
The current version of Price goes about business a bit different. Now with improved fastball command, he routinely challenges the opposite hand on the inner half. He has also added a cutter to go along with his changeup to work the other side of the dish.
Price threw 43 fastballs to right-handed batters on Monday night. Of those, 27 were classified as inner-half heaters. It is true he allowed three hits – including two doubles – on these pitches, but the result of these offerings alone does not paint a full picture of their effectiveness.
With Price busting fastballs in, he worked the changeup and cutter away. Against righties, he threw 33 combined changeups (16) and cutters (17). The outside tandem collected 10 outs including a strikeout. Recently, I spoke about the importance of changing speeds and eye levels to keep hitters off balance. Price accomplished this with the hard stuff up and in and the softer stuff arm-side and down.
On Monday evening, I appeared as a guest on the Jonah Keri Podcast. On the show, Keri asked me what I thought about David Price and the Rays in tonight’s game. Though it was not a data-driven answer, I said I felt as if Price would make a statement tonight.
Message received, David.
Data and visuals courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info.