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David Price shines in his Tigers debut

Aug 6, 2014, 7:59 AM EDT

David Pice Getty Images

New uniform, same results: a lot of strikeouts, no walks and a nice long outing that, had the Tigers bats been a bit more effective early, would’ve saved the bullpen. Welcome to the Tigers, David Price.

Price didn’t get the win, but he certainly did what the Tigers wanted him to do when they traded for him. He pitched eight and two-thirds innings, scattering eight hits, striking out ten Yankees and walking no one. The Tigers went on to win the game in 12 as Joba Chamberlain, Joakim Soria and Joe Nathan shut things down after Price’s departure. While 12 innings is not something a manager wants to endure, that’s a bullpen combination Brad Ausmus would love to rely on in late innings, avoiding his less-effective relievers. Price’s long outing made that possible.

To see the contrast, one need only look at the Athletics-Rays game where the pitcher who was traded away from Detroit for Price — Drew Smyly — labored over five and a third innings, leaving with the loss and tossing only five fewer pitches that Price did in nearly nine. Smyly’s a fine pitcher and will have better days, but the Tigers are in win-now mode and an ace who can dominate games is what is needed. Even if Price makes the fourth or even fifth ace on the staff.

For his part, Price seemed relieved after the game to have his first Tigers start under his belt, saying “Happy it’s over, and happy we won. Finally feel part of the team.”

I’m sure the feeling is mutual, David.

  1. proudlycanadian - Aug 6, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    The Tigers bullpen found a way to not lose. How refreshing.

  2. stex52 - Aug 6, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    Tough for the Rays to lose a pitcher like Price. As for Detroit, it’s funny that they will have a top three for the playoffs that probably doesn’t even include Verlander. I realize the crapshoot nature of the playoffs, but Oakland-Detroit looks like a heck of a pitcher’s battle in the ALCS.

    As to Smyly, he is going to have to get more efficient. 100 pitches in less than six innings has become more or less standard. The potential is there, but he needs some work.

    • indaburg - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      Losing a pitcher of Price’s caliber is a punch to the gut. What a terrible disappointment 2014 has been for the Rays. We drafted and developed him. I remember him in 2008, pitching in the ALCS against the Sox. I watched the game last night and it was bittersweet for me to see Price in that Tigers uniform. He did pretty much what he’s been doing all season long. Quality start, struck out lots, pitched deep into the game saving the bullpen. It was just in a strange uniform. It didn’t compute.

      As has become tradition, he had a nice full page ad in the Tampa Bay Times in the paper yesterday thanking the fans and the Rays organization: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BuRPY7hCQAAkX5i.jpg:large
      I got a little verklempt.

      As for the Rays, I hope they lose every single game left of 2014. We need a high draft pick. We’ve got a little ways to go to catch the Rockies and Rangers.

      • stex52 - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:51 AM

        I don’t think your guys are bad enough to make the bottom five. And believe me, you don’t want to dwell down there. Houston, due to their swindle of a bunch of 18 year-olds, is a sure bet for at least two of the top five draft choices. And I hope they choke on them.

        I understand your feelings, Indy. You get attached to these guys. Price is a winner, a competitor and by most accounts a good guy. But I also think Friedman fell short on this deal. Mostly because I think Smyly may be destined for the bullpen. He probably grades out as a three at best, and right now he is pitching like a five. He has to be more efficient. I don’t know much about Adames, but he is surely a couple of years out at this point.

        Good luck, though. I love TB for their underdog feistiness.

      • indaburg - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:59 AM

        I don’t know if market conditions allowed the Rays to do much better at this juncture for MLB ready players. For some reason, the Rays brain trust wanted MLB ready players. If it’s true the Pirates offered some very good prospects, I would have taken that deal. It’s a formula that’s been working.

        Other teams during the off-season would have known the Rays are desperate to unload Price and his salary. Competition for good pitching will be tough. Scherzer, Lester, and Shields are FAs. We would have been low balled even more.

      • stex52 - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:07 AM

        Good point. It’s a tough off-season to be trading a pitcher.

  3. pete2112 - Aug 6, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    Kuroda wasn’t bad either.

  4. sportsfan18 - Aug 6, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    Verlander was an ace.

    He’s 40th out of 45 in ERA in the A.L. and he’s improved lately to move “up” to that as he was lower a week or two back.

    He’s 40th out of 45 in WHIP in the A.L.

    He’s 37th out of 45 in strikeout to walk ratio in the league

    He’s 32nd in strikeouts per 9 innings and he used to dominate in this

    He averages the 11th most pitches per inning to get through an inning (35th out of 45)

    Across the board he’s not even in the top half of the league in stats (K’s per 9, WHIP, ERA, pitches per inning, K’s to walks etc…).

    In batting average of balls in play, batters are hitting .302 off of Verlander. He’s in 40th place out of 45 in this stat too.

    Only 7 A.L. pitchers are allowing batters to hit over .300 on balls in play and yes there is some luck to this as we all know. but this is NOT where Verlander has been over the years so it isn’t completely bad luck for him (see all his other stats to know this isn’t just an unlucky year for him).

  5. stlbirds21 - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    You all are nuts if you think verlander will be in the bullpen come playoff time. He may not be 1 like he use to but he could be the third guy to pitch.

    • stex52 - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:33 AM

      Things can change. But for right now I would go Price/Scherzer/Sanchez. And probably Porcello in the fourth spot. Not to say Verlander can’t come back. But he’s not there right now.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:23 PM

        Honestly, I think they will use V as a 1 or 2 starter against Oakland, if we face them in the playoffs. He has good history against them, and I think they really will defer to that.

  6. stlbirds21 - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    Third guy in the rotation to pitch in a playoff series*

  7. florida727 - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    I listen to Tampa sports radio stations on my way to and from work each day… and I can’t stop laughing. They keep talking about what they ‘need’. We need a pitcher, we need a power hitter, we need… blah, blah, blah.

    What they really neeed? FANS.

    The Trop where they play is a freaking ghost town. You can hear a pin drop in the middle of a game. They can’t afford a player of Price’s stature because they can’t draw flies to that toilet of a stadium. Of course, management and ownership want taxpayer money to build a new one, but the taxpayers aren’t stupid enough to bite on that one.

    The Rays will be out of Tampa Bay in two years. Count on it. It’s a simple, economic decision.

    • pete2112 - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:35 AM

      You’re right. It’s too bad because the Rays have been a really good team for a number of years and yet the lack of appreciation from the fans is sad. I don’t know if it’s the stadium or that Tampa is just not a baseball town or whatever it is, but it’s not working and they deserve to be in a city that will support them and give them more revenue to hold onto players like David Price.

      • florida727 - Aug 6, 2014 at 4:12 PM

        Totally agree. Tampa is a fairly transcient town. The running joke is that if you’ve lived here for more than 5 years, you’re a ‘native’. That’s why they draw so many fans when the Yankees and Red Sox are in town. All of THEIR fans fill the seats. Hate to say it because I live here now, but Tampa is simply not a good sports town. Maybe it’s because there’s too many other things to do.

        Tell you what though… went to a Clearwater Threshers Class A game last night and had a great time. Sat in the very first row along the third base line. $1 to get in, $2 for parking. Hot dogs were a dollar apiece. So were the Cokes. Spent ten bucks on the whole night and saw a great game. The Daytona Cubs even had their first round draft pick starting at catcher. Best value in town.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 6, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        florida

        you just nailed it. there are other things to do.

        just because a business is in the town one lives in, it doesn’t mean folks have to eat at that restaurant or shop at that store or take their car to be fixed at that shop and folks don’t have to attend the baseball games even if the team is great and winning championships.

        now, I’m a sports fan and like to attend some games from time to time.

        but other folks don’t have to like sports or baseball etc…

        even though baseball is my favorite sport, I tire of folks saying it’s sad the fans don’t support the team.

        We all get to choose how to spend our disposable income.

        Why don’t “fans” of a certain restaurant get online and talk about how sad it is that local residents aren’t supporting that place?

        Yet folks say it’s terrible fans don’t support the Rays. No it isn’t. If folks around there WANTED to go to the games, they would.

  8. hgfrombc2 - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    I’m giving JV a pass on this season.
    What I’d like to know, and never will, is when the core muscle issue first surfaced last season.
    I believe that his 2013 postseason domination was adrenaline aided and recovery from the offseason surgery is what’s inhibiting his ‘normal’ stuff this season.
    If 2015 turns out to be another 2014, then maybe he has lost it and will have to rely more on finesse.
    I also believe that offseason surgery has had an impact on Cabrera’s power numbers and that he’ll return to 35+ HRs in 2015.

  9. jolink653 - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    I wouldn’t say Price shined. His defense bailed him out a couple times, taking away what looked to be hits with runners in scoring position. I’m not saying it was a bad performance, but it was nothing to go crazy about. With the way Kuroda pitched, Price should have taken a loss, especially since Girardi should have gone to the bullpen in the seventh

    • pete2112 - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:40 AM

      I agree. I know it’s just a regular season series, but the Yankees have faced two of Detroit’s better starters and have looked pretty impressive with a couple very good starts from their guys, yet Price is praised for a no decision.

      • stex52 - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:54 AM

        Price pitched 8.2 and got a quality start. You don’t get a no-hitter every game. Even Kershaw got nicked for three last night. What you will get with Price is a ton of quality innings. With the Detroit bullpen being what it is, that is a ton of value.

      • pete2112 - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:02 AM

        I’m not claiming it wasn’t a good start from Price, but rather Kuroda pitched a pretty good game as well and shut down a much better offense than what Price faced. Let’s not forget the Yankees have a hard time scoring runs.

      • stex52 - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:18 AM

        I think we are arguing more than we mean to. But Price is in the middle of a Cy Young-worthy season (WHIP=1.0, 10K/game, and he will pitch more than 240 innngs). Detroit made out like bandits having him in there. One slightly less sharp game (Still 8.2 innings) can be the only complaint.

      • pete2112 - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:27 AM

        Oh trust me, I’m very jealous Detroit and not the Yankees were able to acquire Price. In my opinion, he’s the difference maker now in the AL and I think I would give Detroit the edge in ALCS series against Oakland.

      • stex52 - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:34 AM

        I understand. You took a Yankee-fan point of view on the game. Fair enough.

  10. gigab0t - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    ” Drew Smyly — labored over five and a third innings, leaving with the loss and tossing only five fewer pitches that Price did in nearly nine.”

    …vs. Oakland. Just saying.

    • stex52 - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:57 AM

      That’s the key to this trade. Smyly rarely gets to six in under 100 pitches. He has to get better.

      And how about we find a new phrase for “Just saying”? I’m getting really sick of that one.

  11. classicfinder - Aug 6, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    I know Price throws a ton of innings, but every other night seems like a stretch.

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