David Price’s four-pitch strikeout of the Colorado Rockies’ Josh Rutledge in Denver Saturday night was different than what we’ve come to expect of last year’s Cy Young winner. The Tampa Bay Rays fireballer caught Rutledge looking on two curveballs, before getting him to miss a changeup for strike three. Equally different was the inning in which it occurred, a five-run seventh capped by Nolan Arenado’s grand slam that chased Price wearing nine earned runs and a 9-3 loss.
It didn’t take that game to bring notice to the discouraging start to Price’s 2013 campaign, the worst so far of his major league career. Saturday’s loss leaves him at 1-3. His 6.25 ERA and 1.48 WHIP after seven starts and more than 44 innings place him near the bottom of the American League. Opposing hitters are batting .302 against him, and no pitcher in the majors has allowed more than his 31 runs.
The velocity on Price’s fastball is down thus far this year, his four-seamer averaging 92.8 MPH compared with 95.5