Over the course of David Price's career, you could look at any individual peripheral statistic and find a handful of pitchers who had better marks. But what has made Price such an effective pitcher, and such an intimidating presence, is that even if he's not the greatest at any single thing he's still one of the game's best...at everything. It's that consistency - that ability to score 8's across the board instead of a couple of 10s and a 5 or a 6 thrown in - that has made him one of baseball's best starting pitchers.
Well, this year, Price has upped his game. Contact rates, both inside and outside of the strike zone, are the lowest they've been since he became a full-time Major League pitcher in 2009. His strikeout and walk rates are well above and below his career averages, respectively.
What's interesting about Price is how, over the last two years, he's gotten much slower between pitches. From '09 - '11, his pace was between 20 and 21 seconds. In 2012 it jumped to 22 seconds. Last year and this year, however, he's been right around 26 seconds. Price has clearly become more deliberate.
Whatever the case, it all worked on Saturday night against the Twins. He left Minnesota without a legitimate chance to score through his eight innings of work, with the best opportunity possibly being Trevor Plouffe's two-out double in the first. Back-to-back singles from Chris Parmelee and Eduardo Escobar with one out in the fifth disappeared on an Eduardo Nunez double play. The only other hit Price allowed was a two-out single from Kendrys Morales in the fourth.
Phil Hughes wasn't up to the task of matching Price, but it wasn't exactly a valiant effort. Sean Rodriguez hit a two-run homer in the second to cap off a three-run frame, and Danny Santana missed a pick up of a grounder into center in the seventh that capped off a two-run inning. It could have been worse had Hughes not picked up a trio of double plays throughout the game. He consistently left pitches in the middle of the zone, unable to run balls up and dominate above the strike zone as he has when he's at his most effective.
The Twins did get one back in the bottom of the ninth. Brian Dozier got plunked and Morales took a walk two batters later, and - guess who - Kurt Suzuki came through with a single. Chris Colabello and Chris Parmelee were unable to continue the rally, and the game ended with a whimper.
- Danny Santana is rusty. 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.
- Trevor Plouffe's 28 doubles are already a career high. He's on pace for 40-plus.
- Kendrys Morales' most recent hit streak is up to nine games, raising his batting average from .216 to .232. You would imagine it would jump more, but it's hard for it to go too quickly when they mostly come in 1-for-4 performances.
- Jared Burton and Casey Fien put in scoreless innings.
- Gardy was tossed in the first for arguing that Santana's first strikeout was actually a foul tip that was dropped by the catcher. To ensure that Gardy wasn't thrown out for no raeson, Santana struck out three more times.