Lat night, David Price returned from the disabled list and tossed seven shutout innings while allowing three hits, no walks, and striking out ten hapless Astros. Before going on the DL, Price had struggled to an ERA well over 4.5, despite still-strong peripherals.
There were two main worries to be found in his PITCHf/x data through the first half of the season. First off, his fastball velocity, which averaged over 96 mph in 2012, was averaging nearly two miles per hour lower, and rarely topping 95 mph. Secondly, his curve, which had been such a good pitch for Price in 2012, seemed to have lost movement.
Well, yesterday was a good sign for worry number one. Price's fastball (four-seamers and two-seamers) averaged 95.6 mph. As for the second worry, it was more of a mixed bag.
The graphic below is slightly unwieldy. It works best in a full-screen browser, the larger the better. Plotted, from the catcher's perspective, is the movement of every pitch from last night, along with the movement of the average of each of Price's pitch types from last year, and from the beginning of this year. Yesterday's pitch classifications are my own, and are plotted in different shapes. Pitch classifications for 2012 are shown as a "*", and for 2013 are shown as a "+". Their data and classifications are from Brooks Baseball.
Note that all of Price's pitches from yesterday are shifted a bit rightward. There may be a calibration issue in Minute Maid park, but it did seem like his fastball had some very impressive run last night. Price's cutter was right in line with how it's been this year.
The curve, though, was somewhat disappointing. He only threw six, so he may have simply not had a very good feel today, but only one of those curves mirrored the impressive drop and swerve from 2012. The rest were on the low side of his 2013 average.
Still, don't let me throw a wet rag over anything. I'm simply observing, not practicing science. Results are results, and a 10/0 K/BB ration in seven innings with only three hits allowed is a result.