Tommy asked me to serve as Lenny Harris and pinch hit the recap for him. I said yes, and boy, am I glad I did.
David Price went seven innings, striking out seven, walking two, and allowing a solo home run to Miguel Tejada. That's almost identical to his seven and two-thirds innings, seven strikeout, and three walk performance against the New York Yankees last Friday night, albeit that outing was a little more impressive considering the degree of competition. That's no knock on the Orioles, they just didn't field their best possible lineup today as Matt Wieters sat out.
Two strong starts won't change how the planets orbit. Watching Brian Matusz twice this season could lead to some jealousy. Matusz, of course, shares a lot in common with Price. Both were high draft picks from universities who throw lefty and had successful introductions to the majors. Well, Matusz has taken the Rays to school, and Price returned the favor by putting the Orioles in confinement.
Expect a lot to be made of Joe Maddon allowing Price to stretch beyond the 105 pitch limit again. Maddon has shown the willingness to allow his pitchers to hit that mark when they are pitching well. Some are going to accuse Maddon of overworking the horses - look for that paranoia as soon as Price and/or Garza suffer back-to-back horrid starts, it's coming baby - but no team is more qualified than the Rays to analyze pitcher health.
Maddon isn't sinking his own ships here. He's not Hernan Cortes, there's clearly communication between the front office and the manager on a consistent basis. Since the new regime took over, they've lost exactly three pitching prospect seasons to a significant arm injury. And one was Wade Townsend. They use biomechanics and they have Josh Kalk around too. Price was just too high grade today. He used the curve to enhance his 94s and he aced test two.
- The Orioles have only scored 27 runs through nine games. Most of those games have occurred against the Rays. It's hard to say how much of that is because of the Rays' pitching and how much is simply an offensive offense. There's enough talent in that lineup that I'm leaning towards the Rays' pitching. Hard to say for sure, but they're no Houston Astros, that's for sure. The Astros have walked six times (as a team) and scored 13 runs. Gluttonous atheists cross their plate more than Houston.
- Which raises another point. The Orioles are better than a 1-8 team. They look a little too familiar.
- The opposite field double from B.J. Upton's bat last night was good, but served as merely a Bunsen burner level of flame compared to the lava-bombs he erupted with today. I can watch that first homer swing over and over and it doesn't lose luster. It's beautiful. I'm not going to cry tears of fire when Upton eventually signs a big contract, like Carl Crawford, but missing out on two seasons worth of Upton home runs because of a toasted labrum burns, no doubt.
- When Andrew Friedman asked Derek Shelton to be his hitting coach, do you think Shelton even tried playing it cool, or did he start slobbering into the line immediately?
- Grant Balfour and Andy Sonnanstine battled villains in the eighth and ninth to secure the victory. Both pitched fine; just like they should moving forward, although confirmation bias will be more prevalent in evaluation of them than anyone else on the roster, shy of perhaps Pat Burrell.
- Dewayne Staats said that Boston has "[A] stronger emphasis on defense and pitching than ever before," during his pregame analysis of the next series. Staats is great, but, the 2004 Red Sox still existed, right? I guess that's one of the side effects of having to work closely with Kevin Kennedy for a year. It's like asbestos. Come on Rays, save Dewayne, fire Kennedy.
- The Rays are 6-3. If your evaluation of them is that they're a 90 win team, then in reality, you should expect them to win 91 games.