Price Strikes Out 12 in Complete-Game Gem | The Process Report

Price Strikes Out 12 in Complete-Game Gem

For the second time this season, David Price pitched into the ninth inning. However, unlike his start in Cincinnati where he left after 8 1/3 innings, the left-hander was able to finish what he started against the Twins. Though he allowed three runs on a pair of home runs, Price was rather dominant throughout the duration of the game.

Price needed 113 pitches to complete nine frames. He struck out 12 batters and walked just one. In five starts, he has 40 strikeouts and four walks in 35 2/3 innings. While he  typically uses a four-pitch mix, he needed just three offerings versus the Twins. A low-90s fastball led the charge, going for a strike nearly 70 percent of the time. From there he mixed in 27 changeups – the third highest count of his career – and 21 cutters. He threw a handful of breaking balls but for the most part the pitch stayed on the shelf.

The changeup was true to its name, serving as a disruption to the natural order of things while the cutter and fastball generated outs. Price recorded 23 of his 27 outs with a cutter or fastball including 11 of his 12 strikeouts. Of those dozen strikeouts, four came on cutters that followed fastballs with three more on fastballs that chased cutters. In the ninth inning he started Chris Colabello, who hit a two-run blast in the fourth, with five straight fastballs before catching him looking on an 87-mph cutter. The next batter, Jason Kubel, was greeted with a pair of mid-80s cutters and then sat down on strikes with a firm 93-mph fastball. Overall, Price showed excellent command of both pitches using the corners against both hands.

Following a rough fourth inning in which he allowed four of the six Minnesota hits, Price switched his style up a bit. After throwing 32 fasballs over the first four innings (56 pitches overall), he threw just 26 over the final five (57 pitches overall). The Twins took 47 swings against him while coming up empty 14 times.

While Price’s game plan worked well, Twins’ starter Kyle Gibson’s did not. The young right-hander attempted to work the lower-half of the zone, and to the corners, but the Rays just did not bite. After allowing just two runs in 19 1/3 innings coming into Tuesday’s game, Gibson was touched for seven runs in three innings against Tampa Bay. He used 86 pitches to record nine outs. The 26-year-old tossed 36 of those pitches with two strikes, but could not put away the Rays nor get them to chase out of the zone.

When speaking about his club’s approach to Gibson, Rays’ manager Joe Maddon said “I don’t think we expanded on him. He kept throwing that ball down, down and away. We weren’t expanding because this guy’s a ground ball pitcher too. He wanted us to put it on the ground. We refused to swing at those pitches.”

Gibson has favored his slider in the following counts: 0-2, 1-2, 2-2. Coming into the game, he went to the slider 32 percent of the time in these situations or double the league average. He threw nine more tonight, but coaxed just three swings. Six of those two-strike sliders were thrown out of the zone; the Rays offered at one.

Tampa Bay’s offense provided a balanced attack with five hitters registering multi-hit games. After a prolonged slump, David DeJesus broke through with three hits. He was joined by James Loney, who also produced a hat trick.

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