Every game means somehing for the Rays and last night as the Red Sox celebrated their 2004 season (yeah, there's not a whole lot else for the Sox to do to entertain their fans these days), Tampa and David Price waited to take the field.
Over the first three innings, Price looked anything like the Cy Young Award candidate that he is. The Rays led 3-2 over a mediocre Clay Buchholz but Price had already surrendered six hard hits and a run-scoring balk and had the Sox not exhibited minor league running skills, the Sox would have had the lead.
But by the time the game was over, the Ray were on top 5-2 and Price (19-5) had pitched his second complete game of the season, allowing only seven hits, and he had struck out a season-high 13 to give him a total of 201 for the season.
Here's the consistency that Price exhibited last night:
The Sox had an all-righty lineup against the lefty Price, and you can see Price kept pounding pitches on the outside of the plate.
But it was not just location that enabled Price to be effective. Take a look at the range of release velocity for Price.
Pitches went from 76.5 mph to 96.4 mph
As you can see location + velocity range = a win...and maybe a Cy Young Award.