Unbelievably David Price's started on Sunday was his 16th this season. In those first eight starts Price threw about 36 innings, faced 179 batters, and tossed 763 pitches. In the last eight his innings total is 46, he faced 200 batters, and threw 791 pitches. That's 10 more innings, 21 more batters, and 28 more pitches. In other words, Price became more efficient, tossing 3.96 pitches per batter faced instead of 4.27; over 25 batters faced that's a difference of eight pitches.
His efficiency isn't the only thing that's improved either. Look at some selected pitching statistics:
First 8: 22.3%
Last 8: 17.5%
First 8: 16.8%
Last 8: 5.5%
First 8: 7.5%
Last 8: 9.1%
First 8: 31.6%
Last 8: 33.3%
Price struck out 22.7% and walked 11.8% during his two stints in Durham, which doesn't mean he'll replicate those numbers, but it gives us more data to draw from. Now, to address the issues here:
1. Yes, we're effectively focusing on two sets of ~800 pitches. That's not a ton of data. For instance, Matt Garza has thrown over 2,500 pitches this season and J.P. Howell is near 1,000. There are sample size matters here.
2. You should expect Price to fall in between on most categories. Hopefully on the lower end with regards to the walk rate, a 5.5% uBB rate would put him in the top 20 or so and I think that's a bit unrealistic.
3. Price's tRA is down roughly a run and a half between the first and second sets. I have him around 4.5 for the second half, although that's without the exact IFFB% and instead the seasonal numbers. That's equal to Jeff Niemann.
4. His line drive rate somehow held steady at 22% in both sets, when combined with the fly ball numbers, this leads to issues. This confuses me, because you wouldn't expect Price to allow so many liners, but BIS and StatCorner's data back it up.