So much craziness remains in the AL playoff races. But let’s just put that aside for a second and talk about David Price. This season, Price has gone 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA. He has been the stabilizer and undisputed ace of this Rays staff. He has reached the 20-win plateau, the first to do so in Rays history. Price has two seasons of 19 wins or more- no other Ray has managed more than 16 in a season. He has been dominant. While inconsistency has plagued the Rays rotation all season, Price hasn’t had two consecutive non-quality starts since June, finishing his season with 17 of 18 quality starts including 16 starts of 7 or more innings. Price’s 20th win caps off an incredible year that has carried the Rays all season. Wherever the Rays go, David Price has played a big part in getting them there.
The Rays took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a B.J. Upton 2-run homer off White Sox starter Jose Quintana. A Ryan Roberts solo shot stretched that lead to 3-0 in the 4th inning before things got tighter. The White Sox had 1 on with 1 out before a Paul Konerko single followed by an Alex Rios RBI base hit made it a 3-1 game. Price then hit A.J. Pierzynski with an 0-2 pitch before Dayan Viciedo delivered a sac fly to make it 3-2. But Price got Alexei Ramirez to ground into a force play and settled back in from there, retiring 10 of the last 11 batters he faced. Price went 7 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out 4 while walking 2. He left in line for his 20th win as he was great and the Rays came through for him as well.
Evan Longoria extended the Rays’ lead to 5-2 in the 5th with a 2-run double and B.J. Upton capped the scoring with a solo homer in the 9th, his second of the game and 28th of the season. Upton has been on a tear the past couple of months and there’s no denying that he is ending his Rays career with a bang.
The day was not completely happy for the Rays. The Orioles beat the Red Sox 6-3, rendering the Rays 4 games back of the Orioles with 3 games to play, meaning that even a sweep of Baltimore to end the season would be insufficient for the Rays to catch up to Baltimore in the AL Wild Card race. Their last hope is to come back to catch the Oakland A’s for the AL’s second Wild Card spot. The Rays are currently 2.5 games back in the AL Wild Card pending the results of the A’s-Mariners game currently in progress. The Rays elimination number is two- with an A’s win Sunday it would be down to one. Essentially, the Rays need to sweep Baltimore and hope they get help from the Texas Rangers, who finish off the season with 3 games versus the A’s. The good news: the series is meaningful for Texas as they’re just 2 games up in the AL West (pending the results of the A’s game and the second game of the Rangers-Angels doubleheader) and if they are swept, they could let the division slip away. Who knows what’s going to happen next. The Rays are doing everything they can, having won 11 of their last 12 games. Whatever happens will happen and all the Rays can do is take care of business against the Orioles.