Just activated from the DL on Tuesday, Price looked more like the 2012 Cy Young winner than the pitcher who started the 2013 season 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA. Sidelined with a strained left triceps since May 15, apparently a month-and-a-half break was exactly what Price needed to jump-start his turnaround.
In a masterfully efficient performance, Price was able to strike out 10 batters on just 70 pitches and gave up just three hits in seven shutout innings.
This is a very encouraging comeback. Before Tuesday night, the Rays were 2-7 with their ace on the mound, having lost the first five games of his starts.
When Price toed the rubber against the Astros, however, he looked as dominant as ever, and fans and analysts alike took notice.
Don't care if you're the Astros. Don't care if you're the worst team in baseball. What we saw today from @DAVIDprice14 is so encouraging!!!— Kelly Nash (@KNashSports) July 3, 2013
David Price: season-high 10 K; 14th career game with at least 10 K— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 3, 2013
It's only taken David Price 68 pitches to set a season-high with 10 strikeouts--8 of which are called.— Dave Haller (@HallerDave) July 3, 2013
Glad to see my boy @DAVIDprice14 back on the hill doing big things— Chad Cunningham ⚾ (@Astros_are_good) July 3, 2013
The Rays are currently 45-39, sitting 5.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the stacked AL East, and two games back in the wild-card race. Price will be instrumental in the team's second-half postseason push.
Said manager Joe Maddon, recently, on his ace:
We are a pitching, defensive-based group. We've hit the ball better this year than we have in the past, but for us to get to the World Series this year we have to pitch at a very high level. We're not going to do that without him out there.
The seven shutout innings was a very encouraging sign for Tampa Bay fans. David Price could be back to his winning ways, and that could be just the boost the team needs to make its second-half push.