Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rout a tough lesson for Rays' Price

CHICAGO — Even with the success he has had, including a 20-win season and a Cy Young Award, LHP David Price acknowledges there are still things he is learning about his craft.

And Sunday provided another jarring lesson, as he went from working on a 1-0 win to taking a shower after a brutal 9-2 loss.

"That's extremely tough," Price said. "It turns around quick.

"Like I said the last time (in a complete game win over the Twins on Tuesday), as good as I threw the ball going nine — give up three, you can lose anytime. The same deal."

Sunday wasn't all his fault, though he made one of the team-record four errors in an ugly sixth inning.

"That's very unusual," Price said. "It's uncharacteristic of us to make those errors. But we're human and I still feel like I have eight Gold Glovers out there when I'm out there on the mound. We have those days — and it stinks."

Though the Rays gave up five runs in the sixth and Price had exceeded 90 pitches, manager Joe Maddon kept him in as they still were within four. When Price allowed the first three to reach and a run in the seventh, Maddon had enough and summoned RHP Josh Lueke. "You just don't want David to throw empty pitches at that point," Maddon said. "There were still meaningful pitches in a four-run deficit."

JAKE'S CHALLENGE: RHP Jake Odorizzi takes the mound tonight — weather permitting — well aware of what has been going wrong, specifically that after going through the opposing lineup the first time relatively well (allowing a .121 average), he tends to get hit quite hard (.452).

What he's working on now — imperative to keeping himself and his team in the games — is the solution.

"Just be more aggressive," he said. "I'm losing aggressiveness. I'm trying to make the perfect pitch and instead that puts me in a bad spot if I miss it. I'm trying to work on getting some early count outs and I've been having trouble getting them the last couple games, so that's going to be my focus. Get some early count outs, put the ball in play, let the defense work, try not to do everything myself."

EYE ON THE SKY: Maddon called today's forecast — which calls for heavy rain pretty much all day and night — "awful," and even before Sunday's game they were looking into travel contingency plans. If there is a rainout, the teams have two common off days, May 29 and Sept. 18.

DOUBLE DIP: The Rays didn't hit a double for the first time, ending their season-starting streak at 24 games (four shy of the AL mark) and their overall run at 39 games, second longest in team history.

SOME GOOD NEWS: RHP Jeremy Hellickson threw off the mound for the first time since arthroscopic elbow surgery, a key step toward his projected early June return. Hellickson, working out at the Trop, threw 20 pitches, all fastballs, and was said to feel good.

MISCELLANY: 1B James Loney's hitting streak ended at eight games. … First-pitch temperature was 50. … LHP Cesar Ramos on Saturday became the fourth Rays starter to earn a win without a strikeout, joining LHP Mark Hendrickson (who did it three times), RHP Bryan Rekar and LHP Tony Saunders.

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