Sunday, February 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Price looking to end winless stretch

SEATTLE — Something will be different tonight for David Price.

Remarkably, for the first time since coming to the majors in September 2008 and joining the Rays rotation full time in May 2009, he will pitch in Seattle.

"It's weird," Price said.

"Ridiculous," manager Joe Maddon said.

The Rays have made six trips to Seattle and played 20 games with Price on the active roster, but he has never gotten to participate.

"It's exciting," Price said. "Every time we've been here I've thrown a bullpen (session). I love the bullpen mound. I've been on the game mound a couple times after we've won a game, kind of just get up there and turn around to see what it looks like, so it looks cool."

What Price is really hoping is different, however, is the outcome, as he is winless in his past three starts, and the Rays have lost three of his five after winning the first three.

"It is frustrating," Price said. "Especially the way the team started out in my games earlier in the year. That's definitely something I take pride in; if I don't get the win I still want our team to get the win the day that I pitch."

Price said part of the problem is that he has been making mistakes at critical moments.

"It's just making pitches, bearing down whenever you have two outs, runners in scoring position," Price said. "That's what it boils down to. It doesn't matter what the pitch selection is, where the players are in the field. It doesn't matter what it is — if you execute pitches then you have a very high percentage of a positive outcome."

Price said it's a low percentage of pitches that he isn't executing, but it has cost him, evidenced by the nine homers he has allowed, third most in the majors.

"It's definitely at least one or two a game, absolutely," he said. "I give up runs in bunches right now. (Batting practice) carries on into the game for friggin' home runs. So that's got to stop. I've just got to go out there and make pitches."

But Price said there is also an intangible factor, one that has settled over the team as it struggles.

"I just want us to have that feeling like we had in 2012 — when it was my day to pitch, we were going to win, period," Price said. "I might not get the win, but the Rays were going to win. That's the feeling we need to have in this clubhouse.

"The feeling that we showed up every day, whatever park we were at, whatever team we were playing, we didn't care who was pitching or who they had in their lineup that was really hot, we were going to win that game. We were going to find a way to do it.

"If we can get back to that, and it's tough. It doesn't just take winning two of three, or seven out of 10. There has to be kind of a moment for the team. We just haven't had that yet. We were all hoping it was going to be the doubleheader in Boston and then winning that 14-inning game in New York, but we didn't play as well as we wanted to at home, and that's something we usually do. So it is frustrating."

Maddon said he remains completely confident in Price, that "his stuff has been really good," and expects him to soon get on a dominant roll.

"I really believe you're going to see that again," he said.

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