The term ‘ace’ is thrown around a lot in baseball. It has seemingly become the default term for any pitcher who could be considered to be the number one starter on their team. Yet, true aces are few and far between. An ace is someone who can step in at the biggest points in the season and deliver when needed. Someone that is a true stopper at the top of the rotation. A perennial Cy Young award candidate. Someone like David Price.
Price may not have had much success against the Rangers. In fact, the Rangers were one of the teams he had fared the worst against. Yet, none of that mattered last night, as Price headed into Game 163 knowing that all of the Rays hopes were riding on his left arm.
And so, Price did what a true ace does – hold the Rangers in check while giving his team a chance to get the win. Not only did he shrug off the Rangers history against him, he shrugged off the missed calls and the bloop hits that fell in for Texas while standing on the mound and mixing up his pitches. He kept the Rangers off balance all night, and came through in the biggest game of the season for the Rays.
Not only did Price defeat the Rangers, but he also did something else of importance for the Rays. By pitching a complete game, he managed to preserve a bullpen that had been sorely taxed over the past few days, allowing them to rest for the game against Cleveland on Wednesday. In yet another do-or-die scenario, the Rays will have all their bullets at their disposal.
The term ‘ace’ may be thrown around a lot, but not everyone that is referred to as an ace deserves the moniker. David Price, however, truly earned that title last night.