Like Shields and Niemann yesterday, Price only allowed three hits against the potent Sawks and while he didn’t throw a complete game, he did end up with a mighty fine line: 8IP, 0R, 3H, 3BB, 1HBP, 5K. He mixed his pitches well, only throwing ~57% fastballs, but made those heaters count as he topped out at a tick under 98MPH on the night, according to PitchFX. Of his 116 pitches, he induced ten swinging strikes (8.6%).
My eyes tell me that Price was not as effective as Niemann was last night, but when you put up eight goose eggs against one of the league’s best lineups, ‘effective’ is a rather mild word. The closest the Red Sox came to scoring off the Velociraptor Jesus was when Jacoby Ellsbury tripled to lead off the sixth inning. Price would buckle down and strikeout Pedrioa on a borderline pitch (that the Imp would later walk on in the eighth). He then got Adrian Gonzalez to tap a ball back to the mound and catch Ellsbury in a rundown to end the scoring threat.
Offensively, the Rays were powered by Ben Zobrist, B.J. Upton, and Evan Longoria. Upton and Longo both had solo shots Over the Monster off of John Lackey, and Zobrist contributed with two doubles and two RBI. “They” say you can’t win games without putting up crooked numbers, but the Rays proved the haters wrong as they scored one run in the first, fourth, fifth, and seventh innings and like the cavemen of old, rode the Velociraptor to victory.
With this win, the Rays are now only 8 games behind the Red Sox for the Wild Card lead. The playoffs are still a far-off dream at this point, but the Rays do have plenty of games left against the Sox and Yankees in September. I’m keeping my expectations low, but crossing my fingers that Boston’s pitching utterly implodes.
With this road trip finished, the Rays return to the Trop to face the Mariners in a three-game series starting Friday.