The Tampa Bay Rays have seen their fair share of struggles so far this season. Not only have they experienced a multitude of starting pitching injuries, but even the pitchers who have stayed healthy have not performed up to expectations. Add in an offense that has not found any kind of consistency this year, and the Rays carry a 16-23 record into Tuesday’s game vs. the Seattle Mariners. Something is going to have to change if the Rays are going to turn things around. It all starts with David Price.
Price has been a tale of two pitchers this season. On one hand, he has put up a 9.73 K/9, 1.01 BB/9, and a 2.72 xFIP while averaging around 6.2 innings per start. On the other hand, Price has given up a 1.51 HR/9 and a 10.2 H/9, and his ERA sits at 4.53. Price’s strikeout and walk numbers are the best of his career, but they mean nothing with how hard he is getting hit. The problem comes down to Price throwing too many pitches in the strike zone. Yes this helps his walk numbers tremendously, and his stuff is still good enough that he is still going to strike out his fair share of hitters. But, he has given hitters better pitches to hit, and has left the ball high and over the middle of the plate way too often. Price’s fastball velocity is down, and as a result he is getting less and less whiffs when he throws the ball across the plate. If he wants to fix his issues, he is going to have trust his stuff and command enough to get some swings and misses when he throws pitches that miss the strike zone. He is also going to need to accept that his fastball isn’t what it used to be and start throwing the ball down with more regularity. Price has been nothing but a disappointment this year, and he has been the epitome of the Rays pitching struggles. If the Rays pitching staff is going to overcome their collective woes, Price HAS to make the necessary adjustments and find his vintage form sooner rather than later.
The Tampa Bay Rays need David Price in order to get their team going. When Price is on, the pitching staff as a whole looks so much better. But, when he is struggling, the pitching staff as a whole does not look near as good. Price certainly has the ability to once again lead the staff , and his strikeout and walk numbers show that he may not be far off from returning to his old form. However, there are still adjustments that need to be made before that happens. Everything starts for Price tonight when he duels Seattle Mariners’ star pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. Can he get the job done and lead the Rays to finally take a step in the right direction?