After a strong return from his first career trip to the disabled list, Tampa Bay's David Price hopes he's getting a fresh start to the 2013 season.
Looking to win his fourth straight start against Chicago, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner tries to help the Rays complete their first-ever series sweep of the lowly White Sox on Sunday.Out since mid-May with a triceps strain, Price (2-4, 4.65 ERA) allowed three hits and struck out 10 without a walk while throwing 70 pitches over seven innings of an 8-0 win at Houston on Tuesday."That's probably the best I've felt on a baseball field maybe in my entire life, honestly," said Price, who went 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA in 2012. "I felt like that's the most control I've had of a baseball game in a very long time. I think that was better than I threw the ball really at any point last year."It's huge for me, my confidence."In a way, Price felt his time on the DL proved to be somewhat positive."Just letting me regroup with everything," he told the Rays' official website."The way the first nine starts went, it makes it kind of tough to sleep at night. "That's not me. I felt like I got back to myself (Tuesday)."Price's other victory this season came at Chicago on April 28, when he gave up three runs and struck out nine in seven innings of an 8-3 win. He's posted a 2.05 ERA during his three-start winning streak against the White Sox.After being named to the All-Star team, Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist had two hits and Luke Scott delivered an RBI double as the Rays (48-40) won their third straight, 3-0 on Saturday. Matt Moore pitched 6 1/3 innings to best Chicago All-Star Chris Sale as the Rays won for the seventh time in eight contests."We're playing great right now," Moore said.The White Sox, outscored 29-10 during a four-game skid in the series, have dropped 26 of 36.Zobrist, 1 for 22 in five games prior to Saturday, has gone 7 for 13 in his last three against the White Sox. However, he's 2 for 14 with seven strikeouts against John Danks (2-5, 4.38).The left-hander snapped a three-game slide Tuesday, allowing two runs in seven innings of a 5-2 win over Baltimore. He's yielded three earned runs in 14 1/3 innings over his last two starts."Definitely my last few, I've felt I've had command," Danks told the White Sox's official website. "Just trying not to hurt myself. Trying not to hurt guys, trying to keep the ball in the ballpark."Including postseason, Danks has gone 6-3 with a 3.92 ERA in 10 starts against the Rays, last facing them in 2011.White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham is 9 for 18 in July, and is batting .409 in his last 12 games.He's hit .350 (7 for 20) in his past five at Tropicana Field, but is 1 for 18 against Price.Batting .406 during a 16-game hitting streak, Tampa Bay's James Loney is likely to be in the lineup after he was used as a late defensive replacement Saturday.
The reigning AL Cy Young winner stumbled out of the gate this season, losing four of his first five decisions with an ERA over 5. That hasn't been the case since he returned from the DL at the beginning of July though - he's won each of his starts since, allowing just one run in 16 innings.