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Tampa Bay Rays' David Price not focused on 20 wins, wouldn't mind it, either

CHICAGO — LHP David Price admits he will take the mound today with a specific milestone in mind: getting the Rays' 88th win.

And if in doing so he gets his 20th, well, that would be even better.

"It's pretty special," Price said. "I would love to get to that mark, and not a whole lot of guys get to get there. It would be good for me, it would be good for the organization. I know this team wants me to get there."

Though new sabermetric stats provide alternative ways to measure a pitcher's performance, both Price and manager Joe Maddon said the 20-win mark remains significant. Price (19-5, 2.56) would be the first Ray to do so and, at age 27, the youngest in the AL since 2004, when 24-year-old Johan Santana did.

"There's other ways of looking at it regarding awards, but when it comes right down to it, to win 20 games as a starting pitcher has always been the benchmark for success," Maddon said. "You feel like you've accomplished a lot. … Organizationally and for him personally it would be kind of a neat thing to happen."

Doing so in his 31st and final regular-season start also would further Price's candidacy for the American League Cy Young Award. He leads the majors in ERA and would match Los Angeles' Jered Weaver for the AL lead in wins.

"Obviously that's an award I would love to have," Price said. "But it's not up to me. I can only go out there and pitch as good as I can (today) and leave the rest up to whoever else."

His teammates helped him a bit Saturday, knocking out Sox Cy Young candidate Chris Sale (17-8, 3.05) after a season-low 31/3 innings and handing him his first home loss since May 12.

TOUGH LESSON: Rookie RHP Chris Archer came out of the bullpen and worked quickly through the seventh and had two outs in the eighth when got into all kinds of trouble, loading the bases on a walk, single and another walk then giving up a pinch-hit grand slam to Orlando Hudson.

"That's the kind of inning I don't want him to have," Maddon said. "He's cruising along, two outs, nobody on, he's got great stuff. I want him to be able to learn a lesson from (Saturday). This guy's going to be so good. That's a growth moment in a negative way and it's going to be a positive in the future."

MO' BETTER: C Jose Molina's strained right quad improved enough that he was available for late-inning duty, and Maddon said it was "possible" he'll start today.

MORE MOORE: LHP Matt Moore broke LHP Scott Kazmir's 2005 Rays rookie record of 174 strikeouts. … Moore said he "absolutely" was surprised to be pulled in the sixth after 77 pitches: "By no means did I think I was ready to be taken out of the game, I still had a lot more to go."

MISCELLANY: LF Desmond Jennings' leadoff single was his first hit of the road trip; he and B.J. Upton were a combined 1-for-31 in the first four games. … OF Matt Joyce had his second career multihomer game, first this season. … INF Sean Rodriguez made his first career start at DH. … INF Jeff Keppinger improved his average against lefties to .381. … The Tampa Bay BBWAA chapter will announce its team MVP, outstanding rookie and Paul C. Smith champion award winners Tuesday at the Clutch Hitters banquet.

Tampa Bay Rays' David Price not focused on 20 wins, wouldn't mind it, either 09/29/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 29, 2012 10:35pm]
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