Another Gem from Price vs. Rays

David Price was brilliant once again in Boston’s home opener vs. the Rays on Thursday afternoon. On a cold and windy day, Price went 7 scoreless innings, allowing just 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 5. He looked comfortable, confident, and most importantly, completely in touch with his arsenal of pitches.

He ran into trouble only twice, allowing two base runners in both the 3rd and 5th innings, but collected himself on both occasions and dispatched the danger with ease. He was spotting all of his pitches, especially his fastballs and changeup, rarely forcing Christian Vazquez to move his glove at all behind the plate. Additionally, his stuff looked great, and he kept the Tampa lineup off-balance and guessing with a wide variety of pitch selection in different situations.

(Photo credit: Fangraphs)

Above is a chart displaying both the vertical and the horizontal movement of every pitch he threw yesterday. You can see the consistency of each pitch with just a quick glance, and upon closer examination you can see just how potent he was. His slider and changeup both averaged around 15 total inches of movement, his fastball roughly 12, and his all-important cutter around 5.

(Photo credit: Fangraphs)

Looking specifically at his cutter, you can see above how he utilized it yesterday. He threw a lot of them off the plate down and in to right-handed batters (which is exactly where you want to put it), forcing a whiff on 34% of swings. In my opinion, it’s Price’s most important pitch in his repertoire. It’s his go-to pitch when he’s in a jam, the one he throws when he needs to force an out, and it’s been extremely effective thus far.

When Price is as good as he’s been so far this year, he’s arguably a top-10 pitcher in the league. His first big test of the season will come next Thursday when he faces the high-powered Yankees lineup, and he looks up for the task. I said back in March that I expect a big year from him, and so far he’s living up to that prediction.

(Header photo credit: NBC Sports)

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