The Rays won their 4th game in a row by defeating the Houston Astros by a final score of 8-0 to improve their record to 45-39. The Astros continue to struggle as they have now lost 5 in a row and their record falls to 30-54.
The story of the day was the return of David Price as he was making his return to the mound for the first time in 49 days. Since he wasn’t effective prior to going on the disabled list (1-4 5.24 ERA) and had a noticeable drop in his velocity their was a lot of nervousness as to how he would look upon his return.
For the Rays to seriously make a charge at the Boston Red Sox and the rest of the AL East they needed the 2012 David Price. The Rays fans have to like what they saw out of their ACE as he carved up the Houston Astros in a dominant performance.
Price said it best:
#Rays Price: “That’s probably the best I’ve felt on a baseball field maye my entire life, honestly. That was awesome. It was what I needed”
— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) July 3, 2013
For the first time in 2013 Price (2-4, 4.65 ERA) resembled the pitcher that he was in 2012. What’s scary was that in many ways he was better. He was efficient in working 7 scoreless innings allowing only 3 singles striking out 10 and walking 0. He threw 70 pitches and 48 were for strikes. He never went to a 3-ball count of any kind to any Astros hitter.
It looks as if the time off has allowed Price to rebuild his velocity. According to Fangraphs prior to his start tonight his velocity of his 4-seam fastball averaged 92.8 mph and his 2-seam was 93.6 mph. These were down from 2012 where his 4-seamer averaged 95.5 mph and his 2-seamer 95.3 mph. According to Brooksbaseball.com Pitch F/X data against the Astros his 4-seamer averaged 93.80 and his 2-seamer 95.72 mph.
After Price departed the game the bullpen held the Astros off the board over the final two innings. The Astros threatened in the top of the 8th getting their first two runners on base off Jamey Wright but Joel Peralta came in to retire the next three hitters to escape damage. Kyle Farnsworth worked a scoreless 9th. The shutout stretches the Rays scoreless inning streak to 23 innings.
The offense continued to work over the Astros pitching staffs pounding out 12 hits, drawing 6 walks, and plating 8 runs. Evan Longoria returned to the lineup and went 2 for 4 as the designated hitter.
The Rays will take on the Astros tomorrow night at 8:10 p.m. and Roberto Hernandez (4-9, 4.98 ERA) will look to extend the Rays win streak to 5 games. The Astros will counter with Bud Norris (5-7, 3.35 ERA).