ST. PETERSBURG — One of the biggest reasons the Rays picked RHP Jeremy Hellickson to pitch Game 4 today was because they knew he wouldn't be pitching much before then.
They strongly believe Hellickson is better with extra rest, thus confident he will do well because he last worked Sept. 27.
"We just think when he's rested, he throws the ball pretty well, and I think with that you are going to see better discrepancy between his fastball and his other pitches," manager Joe Maddon said.
Plus, the Rays believe Hellickson matches up better with the Red Sox in a start and RHP Chris Archer, the other candidate to start, would be more effective in relief against specific hitters.
Hellickson said he welcomed the opportunity after a frustrating and disappointing season.
"I was surprised a little bit,'' he said. "I know that what I did the last two months didn't sit too well with the guys making the decision. And I was very happy that they still had confidence in me going out there in a playoff game.''
The Rays will have Archer and LHP Matt Moore ready to go early, but Maddon said after Monday's Game 3 win they expect good things. "I really believe Hellickson is ready for this challenge,'' he said. "I do. I feel good about it.''
PRICE APOLOGY: LHP David Price said he knew as he was posting a tweet criticizing TBS analysts Dirk Hayhurst and Tom Verducci after Saturday's Game 2 loss that it was the wrong thing to do.
But he went ahead anyway in an emotion-driven reaction to a frustrating outing, and after a day and a half of criticism and ridicule, Price came out before Monday's game to address the media and apologize.
"I'm a person I feel that takes pride in character, and that was probably the exact opposite of that," Price said. "I hurt a lot of people. I embarrassed myself, I embarrassed my family, I embarrassed this organization. And it's not good. It's not good for baseball, it's not good for our team, especially at a time right now. And I'm deeply sorry. I let my emotions completely take over the situation. I've never felt anything like that before in my life. … It was a very dark spot in my career up to this point."
Price said he knew there could be damage to his reputation. "I do feel like I'm a good person," he said. "With the things that I said after the game Saturday, I know a lot of people probably have changed their views on how they viewed me. That probably is what hurt the most."
Price also said he reached out to Boston DH David Ortiz about critical comments he made about him in his postgame interview: "I felt bad, man. I've got a tremendous amount of respect for that guy. That was an extremely poor decision on my part and it stinks."
MYERS OUT: Rookie Wil Myers left the Monday's game after seven innings due to cramps in both legs. He said he felt them as he struck out to end the seventh, and when they didn't get better when he ran out to the field, he knew there was a problem. "I never had that happen before,'' he said. Myers received IV fluids and said he expected to play tonight.
MISCELLANY: The Rays logged their second postseason walkoff win; the other was Game 2 of the 2008 ALCS vs. Boston. … 3B Evan Longoria hit his ninth career postseason homer. … The comeback from 3-0 was the largest in Rays postseason history.