The reigning American League Cy Young winner saw his rough start to the season take a turn for the worse Wednesday night as Rays left-hander David Price was removed from the game against the Boston Red Sox after just two and a third innings with what the team is calling triceps tightness.
Price looked strong in the first two innings, allowing no runs and showing increased velocity from his previous outings but found himself in a jam in the third inning. With two on and a run in, David Ortiz hit a 1-2 cutter past a diving Longoria to drive in a second run. Price was seen flexing his pitching hand as he walked towards the plate after delivering the pitch and was removed following a mound meeting from pitching coach Jim Hickey, Joe Maddon and trainer Ron Porterfield.
Jamey Wright entered the game to relieve Price and wasted no time defecating all over himself, allowing two inherited runners to score as well as four of his own on a grand slam from the number nine hitter, Stephen Drew. Cesar Ramos entered and did a nice job saving the pen by pitching three scoreless innings and giving the Rays a chance to mount a comeback but the eight spot would prove too much to overcome against a very strong outing from Jon Lester.
The Rays got two off Lester in the bottom of the third after Roberts singled in front of a Desmond Jennings triple and a RBI ground out from Ben Zobrist; but that would be all for the Rays. Lester scattered eight hits over seven innings of work and was moving his pitches in and out with great effectiveness. He issued no walks and struck out five Rays batters before exiting. Koji Uehara worked a scoreless eighth while pitching around some trouble, including a long foul ball off the bat of Matt Joyce who barely missed a home run. Jose De La Torre worked a scoreless ninth for Boston.
Ultimately, the result of the game was decided in the eventful third inning and what looked like a fun pitching duel turned into a forgettable game for the Rays in which the only story line is the health of David Price. When it comes to the left arm of your franchise ace, a loss is secondary, even if it is to the Red Sox.
If a fill in starter is needed, Jake Odorizzi pitched tonight for Durham so he would be in line to start in Price's next spot. However, Odorizzi was dinged up for six earned runs and three home runs in Rochester tonight. Chris Archer is scheduled to start tomorrow for Durham.
As for the Rays, they will look to meatloaf the Red Sox tomorrow evening as Alex Cobb takes on Felix Doubront from Topicana Field.