Tampa Bay right-hander David Price leads the Major Leagues in strikeouts (144) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (10.29) and has struck out ten or more batters in five consecutive games. “I’ve never been as good as I am right now, period,” Price said. “Not in 2012 (Cy Young season), not in college, not in high school. This is the best pitcher I’ve ever been.” Despite his stellar 2014 campaign to date, Price is convinced that he can do more to improve his results. “But I can still execute more. I want to finish games. That’s something I always want to be able to do. I want to get the 27 outs. That’s something I take pride in.”
Overall, David Price is 6-7 with a 3.63 ERA and 1.08 WHIP this season, including posting a 3.46 ERA and 1.00 WHIP on the road, a 3.59 ERA and 1.17 WHIP at night and a 2.22 ERA and 0.82 WHIP over his last three outings. Price has posted a 2.31 ERA with 60 strikeouts and six walks over 46 2/3-innings in his last six starts. Let’s also note that Price is a perfect 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA over his last four outings in the Bronx. Price should improve upon those numbers against a pedestrian New York attack that is batting just .253 with a .313 on base percentage in 2014 (4.0 runs per game), including hitting .257 with a .314 on base percentage at home (3.7 runs per game) and .240 with a .287 on base percentage over the last seven games (4.1 runs per game).
Meanwhile, New York starter Hiroki Kuroda is 5-5 with a 4.23 ERA and 1.24 WHIP this season, including going 3-2 with a 4.69 ERA and 1.18 WHIP at home, 2-4 with a 4.37 ERA and 1.25 WHIP at night and 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA and 1.35 WHIP over his last three outings. Kuroda is 2-3 with a 6.94 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in six career starts against the Rays, including yielding a combined fifteen earned runs on 21 hits in last three meetings with Tampa Bay, a period covering just 17 1/3-innings. The 39-year-old veteran now has to contend with a surging Tampa Bay squad that has the American League’s second-best record since June 11.
“This last week or so, we’ve finally started to look as we thought we would look,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “Just being around the guys, they just feel different, they sound different, they look different. A lot of that has to do with the offense in general.” After losing ten straight road games from May 17 to June 3, the Rays have won six of their last eight away from home. “We probably picked the right year in the sense that there’s a lot of bunching up right now,” said Maddon. “I think if we’re ever going to have the opportunity to do it, it would be this year.”
From a technical standpoint, Tampa Bay is 21-5 (+12.2 units) in the month of July over the last two seasons and 28-11 (+17.9 units) on the road versus division opponents with David Price toeing the rubber. Conversely, the Yankees are 9-15 (-10.2 units) in home night games and 13-21 (-10.9 units) at night with Hiroki Kuroda on the mound. Pro Edge also likes the following trends:
- Tampa Bay is 8-2 in Price’s L/10 starts in game 2 of a series;
- Tampa Bay is 24-8 in Price’s L/32 stars as a road favorite of -150 or less;
- Tampa Bay is 19-9 in Price’s L/28 road starts vs. teams with a winning record;
- New York is 3-13 in its L/16 games as a home underdog;
- New York is 0-8 in its L/8 games as a home underdog of +150 or less;
- New York is 1-6 in Kuroda’s L/7 starts vs. a team with a losing record
With Tampa Bay standing at 5-0 in Price’s last five road starts versus the Yankees, take the Rays to continue surging behind one of the hottest pitchers in baseball.