Pitcher Preview: Pedro Hernandez vs David Price

Al Messerschmidt

This could turn into a massacre. And for that reason, it's highly likely the Twins find a way to pull out a win.


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Pedro Hernandez 3-1 11 9 0 0 0 0 48.0 61 28 28 7 17 25 5.25 1.63

In his first stint with the Twins, Hernandez got through his first two starts by, seemingly, being an unknown quantity. There wasn't much of a scouting report on him and as a result, he was effective even if he wasn't efficient. From his third start until his demotion following his seventh start, however, he was hammered.

Now in his second stint with the team, Hernandez was again effective in his first start, but was saved from himself by Ryan Pressly in the fifth in his second start. Now he's back into third start territory, and I'm not confident that it's going to go a whole lot better than it did the first time around. Hernandez doesn't have the best command, doesn't have very good stuff, and with a lack of an out pitch can really struggle when he gets into trouble.

When you're fighting for survival, though, you can sometimes be capable to things that you might not be capable of in other circumstances. It's not a situation of a mother lifting a car, but Hernandez has to see the rest of this year as his audition for a Major League job in 2014. It won't be with the Twins, but it could be with somebody else.


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - David Price 8-8 23 23 3 0 0 0 159.1 150 70 61 15 22 131 3.45 1.08

Price isn't having his usual Price-like year. The walk rates are cut in half from last year (3.5% down from 7.1%) and as a result his strikeout-to-walk ratio is the best it's ever been in his career, while in contrast the strikeout rates are down (20.7% from 24.5% last year) and he's having a much more difficult time stranding base runners than usual (68.2% strand rate, lowest in his MLB career, from an average of 74.8%).

A common belief is that the culprit is a drop in velocity. Price has lost two miles per hour off of his fastball from last year (93.5 mph from 95.5), although it's only one mile per hour down from his career average. Maybe that's why he's been choosing to throw his cutter and changeup a bit more this season, if he's not as comfortable with the fastball. Fangraphs says it's still been an effective pitch for him, but if the velocity isn't where he's used to having it then Price could be trying to make up for it by mixing up his pitches more often.

Overall, though, his swinging strike rates are identical to 2012. Batters are taking cuts on pitches outside the zone more often. And he's working on getting ahead earlier by posting, by far, the highest first-strike rate of his career (68.5% compared to 62.3% career average). Whatever it is that's different about Price this season, he's finding other ways to balance out his performance. And it's working.

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