Thursday, May 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Price still steamed about previous outing

ANAHEIM, Calif. — LHP David Price is usually pretty much a sore loser anyway.

And he was especially so after Friday's frustrating 4-3 defeat in Oakland, haunted by a three-run homer he allowed to No. 9 hitter Kurt Suzuki.

"It was a tough loss," Price said Wednesday. "It really was."

Rather than shake it off, Price has carried it with him, determined to use it to his advantage tonight against the Angels.

"Whenever you're going good, it's easy to kind of stay focused and keep doing the same things that you're doing," Price said. "But whenever you have something that happens in your last outing like what happened to me, I feel like it just motivates you even more.

"This week of work that I've put in is very good. I'm not saying I don't put in the same amount of time and effort in between every other start even when I'm going good, but this week I've had a chip on my shoulder, absolutely.

"I want to get back out there and start dominating people again. That's why I play the game. I don't play this game to be average or slightly above average. I want to be dominant whenever I'm out there, and that's fun for me."

The fifth-inning homer put the A's up 3-1; after the Rays tied it in the top of the eighth, Price allowed a leadoff single to Coco Crisp and was pulled, with Crisp coming around to score the decisive run.

Price said he was further frustrated because it was the second year in a row he let a game get away in Oakland on what he felt was one pitch. On July 30, 2012, he allowed a seventh-inning tying homer to No. 9 hitter Brandon Hicks in a game the Rays lost 4-3 in 15 innings.

The good news? He came back his next start with eight two-hit shutout innings against Baltimore, albeit with no decision as the Rays lost 1-0.

RELIEF UPDATE: RHP Jesse Crain (shoulder strain) had another encouraging session playing catch Wednesday with hopes of throwing off the mound for the first time this weekend in Seattle. If Crain gets to that point, and continues to progress through bullpen sessions, batting practice and a simulated game, he likely would be ready to pitch in his first game during the last week of the regular season.

RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo (elbow surgery) apparently isn't going to make it back to pitch during the final weeks of the season as he and the Rays hoped. But he will continue to work out with the Instructional League squad as the Rays, after paying the former Marlins closer (then known as Leo Nunez) the major-league minimum $490,000 this season, have to decide whether to pick up a 2014 option for $2 million, with another $2 million in incentives.

NOT-SO-MINOR MATTERS: Advanced Class A Charlotte advanced to the Florida State League finals with a wild 2-1 10-inning win over Fort Myers (Twins), scoring twice on wild pitches in the 10th. The Stone Crabs face either Daytona or Dunedin.

Triple-A Durham beat Indianapolis 2-0 in the opener of the best-of-five International League playoffs with a sterling start by RHP Jake Odorizzi (7 IP, 1 H, 0 R) and eighth-inning RBI singles by Tim Beckham and Vince Belnome. OF Brandon Guyer was a late scratch with back stiffness.

Class A Bowling Green lost 6-1 to Fort Wayne (Padres) in the opener of the best-of-three Midwest League playoffs.

PENNED IN: RHP Roberto Hernandez looked dazzling coming out of the bullpen to work the final 3? of Tuesday's win, retiring all 11 hitters he faced, seven on strikeouts, for his first career save.

Manager Joe Maddon said Hernandez has had a different, more comfortable look, and a more aggressive approach, in his two relief appearances, which could make him a valuable weapon down the stretch and possibly in the postseason.

"The difference for me is that he's been really confident and calm about the whole thing. When he comes in you give him the ball and he's like, 'Let's go,' " Maddon said. "If you put him on the right guys, he's going to throw a strike, and there's a pretty good chance the ball will be on the ground."

MISCELLANY: As the Rays are set up now, Price, RHP Alex Cobb and RHP Chris Archer will face Boston at the Trop next week, though Maddon did say they might manipulate Archer's schedule slightly to limit his innings. … The Rays canceled batting practice Wednesday and might do so again tonight. … Former closer Troy Percival was a pregame clubhouse visitor. … Maddon said C Jose Lobaton "blocks the ball among the best of any catcher in the American League this year." … LHP Matt Moore, at 24, surpassed Price as the youngest 15-game winner in franchise history.

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