Updated: May 26, 2009, 11:17 AM ET

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AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Jason Isringhausen didn't exactly seize the opportunity to slam the door in Cleveland on Memorial Day.

Price can't last; Isringhausen can't close
It's easy to see why the Rays' David Price is so touted and such a valuable asset for Tampa Bay and fantasy owners. It just didn't look that way as he made his season debut Monday, laboring through a 100-pitch outing in which he walked five of the 19 hitters he faced and couldn't make it through four innings. The Price was wrong on this crazy night, but make no mistake, the stuff is there for him to be a big winner.

Price allowed a walk and a double in the first inning, then struck out the side, showing both the good and bad of his evening. He similarly made it through the second and third innings unscathed but did put men on base in the process. In the fourth inning, Price followed a walk by serving up a two-run home run to Ryan Garko. Then, after a strikeout, he walked two more hitters. That was it, as he had hit 100 pitches, only 57 of them for strikes. Yep, the former first-round draft pick needed only two more outs to qualify for a win and figured to get it since the Rays were up 10-2, but manager Joe Maddon wisely went to the bullpen. It wouldn't be the last time he'd do that.

Anyway, the final line for Price doesn't look so hot, even though he permitted only two runs. He gave up four hits in 3 1/3 innings, walked five and struck out six. He shouldn't have been nervous for a May game at Cleveland's Progressive Field, since he thrived at age 23 in the postseason last season and pitched in the World Series. That reputation might have worked against fantasy owners Monday. Consider that Price was owned in nearly 90 percent of ESPN standard mixed leagues -- 10 teamers -- before he even pitched. That's unique. Then again, unless you're in one of my leagues, I hope you didn't have the southpaw active. Personally, I don't activate pitchers in their first start of the season in May, whether it's a minor league promotion or coming off a DL stint. Of recent note, I left pitchers Luke Hochevar, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kris Medlen on the bench, and even before reading colleague Tristan Cockcroft's words of caution in Monday's Out of the Box, I wouldn't have activated Price.

Of course, I do see great things in Price's future, once he cuts down on the walks. He should be special, although now maybe everyone won't view the fact that he stayed in the minors for nearly two months as just a service time issue. Maybe he really needed the work and still does.

What happened later in this game still has my head spinning. The Rays led 10-0 into the bottom of the fourth and 10-4 into the bottom of the ninth. Grant Balfour served up Garko's second home run of the night to make it 10-8, giving Maddon the chance to show off his new closer, now that nominal saves guru Troy Percival is on the DL and pondering retirement. Joe Nelson pitched the seventh inning, so maybe Maddon didn't think he'd need a closer on this night. Balfour didn't enter in a save situation, but now his ERA is 5.75. Who came next, with a two-run lead and needing one out to save the game?

Believe it or not, Jason Isringhausen got the call. It didn't go well. It would have been the third consecutive day of pitching for Dan Wheeler and J.P. Howell, but is that really a large price to pay in a momentum-killer of a loss like this? Isringhausen was summoned, and he was wild, really wild, as he entered with a man on first base and walked the first three hitters, making the score 10-9. Up next was Victor Martinez, and he singled up the middle to win the game 11-10. The last time a team made up a 10-0 deficit and won was more than five years ago.

There will be more about the Rays in Wednesday's Relief Efforts column, but I think we all can agree Isringhausen probably is not going to receive the next save chance. Look for a rested Wheeler or Nelson to inherit the role.

Previous editions: May 25: Lidge blows another save | May 24: K-Rod injured

News, Notes and Box Score Bits
• If you are more a fan of well-pitched baseball, look no further than the effort put forth by Chris Carpenter and Yovani Gallardo in Milwaukee. Carpenter was perfect through six innings, while Gallardo didn't allow a hit until the sixth. The last time opposing starters had no-hitters through five innings was in 1997, when Kevin Brown and William Van Landingham did it. Both Carpenter and Gallardo allowed two hits in eight scoreless innings, with the Brewers taking the game 1-0 in 10 innings. While Gallardo continues to impress, decreasing his ERA to 3.32, Carpenter still has literally no ERA in 23 innings. He joined Tim Lincecum as the only pitchers in the past five seasons to fail to earn a win when getting 10 strikeouts and issuing no walks in eight shutout innings. This season, Carpenter has allowed 10 hits and four walks, while striking out 23 hitters, and he's merely 2-0. If only he can stay healthy!

• There are plenty of others who clearly aren't healthy. White Sox slugger Carlos Quentin might have a DL stint in his immediate future. He's been dealing with plantar fasciitis for weeks, which certainly hasn't helped his .223 batting average. Quentin doubled in a run in the first inning Monday but limped to second base and had to be helped off the field as the injury flared up.

• Mets shortstop Jose Reyes was again missing from the lineup, and the team reports a decision on whether he'll be placed on the DL will be made by Friday. Didn't we hear this previously with Carlos Delgado? Reyes and his sore right calf have missed most of the previous 10 games, but not all of them, so a DL stint can be backdated only so far. Replacement Ramon Martinez is hitting .077.

Alex Rodriguez heard plenty of boos as he returned to Texas for the first time since admitting earlier this year he had used steroids while playing for the Rangers, but they didn't seem to bother him, as he went 5-for-5 and knocked in a season-best four runs. Rodriguez entered Monday with 10 hits on the season and a .189 batting average, but seven of the hits were home runs. Now he's hitting .259, which looks a lot more promising.

• One of my favorite pitchers this season has been Wandy Rodriguez of the Astros, but he didn't pitch well in Cincinnati on Monday. Luckily for fantasy owners, a scorer's change took five earned runs off the board and made the runs unearned, so Rodriguez's ERA dropped to 1.71. His WHIP went up quite a bit, however, with 10 hits and two walks allowed in four messy innings. See, it's all about perspective. Aaron Harang also permitted 10 hits but won the game with five less-messy innings. All three of the runs he gave up were earned, though.

• In the case of the Angels' Ervin Santana, earned runs clearly were a problem in start No. 3 of his season, as the White Sox touched him for seven runs and nine hits in one inning-plus of work. Santana served up a three-run homer to Jermaine Dye and threw 41 pitches to retire three. After the game, he said, "Every time they saw a white thing, they just hit it." That seems pretty accurate. Keep Santana active in fantasy leagues and assume it was just a bad night.

• Pirates closer Matt Capps took a Geovany Soto line drive off his pitching elbow in the ninth inning, and X-rays were negative. It's possible Capps will have to miss a few games or need a DL stint, but it's just too early to tell. Lefty Sean Burnett finished up for his first save, but it's likely John Grabow, who earned his sixth hold in the game, would replace Capps as closer.


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Player Spotlight

Hitter of the night
Freddy Sanchez, Pirates
The Pittsburgh second baseman became the second player in the past 75 seasons to register six or more hits in a Memorial Day game (Paul LoDuca in 2001 was the other), adding a home run, three RBIs, four runs scored and a stolen base (his fourth of the season) to the tally in the Pirates' win. Sanchez raised his batting average from .297 to .320.


Pitcher of the night
Phil Hughes, Yankees
The hard-throwing right-hander entered Monday with a 7.06 ERA and in danger of losing his rotation spot this week to Chien-Ming Wang, then threw eight scoreless innings of three-hit ball, striking out six. It might be tough to move Hughes back to the minors until he falters again.


Stat of the Night: 60
Justin Verlander mowed down the Royals on Monday, fanning eight over seven shutout innings. If he were doing this to start the season, we'd call him Zach Greinke, but has anyone noticed the Tigers right-hander is 5-0 in his past six starts with a whopping 60 strikeouts and a sub-1.00 ERA? Randy Johnson is the only other active pitcher to have a stretch this good in his career.
Notable Transactions
• Other than manager Joe Maddon getting his three-year contract extension signed, Monday really wasn't a good day for the Rays. It was announced that reliable second baseman Akinori Iwamura will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL suffered Sunday. Iwamura was hitting .310 with eight stolen bases and is owned in 20 percent of ESPN standard leagues. Ben Zobrist now is one of the most-added players in ESPN leagues and figures to gain playing time, along with Reid Brignac and Willy Aybar. All three started Monday.

• The news on Iwamura's Japanese countryman Kenji Johjima was mild in comparison. Johjima broke his left big toe on a play at the plate Monday, and will be placed on the DL and miss at least a few weeks. Johjima homered in his only at-bat, his third round-tripper of the season. Rob Johnson replaced him and should see regular time, and Jamie Burke is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Tacoma.

• Finally, some good news! The Angels welcomed Vladimir Guerrero back to the lineup, activating the slugger from the DL and batting him third. Guerrero went hitless in four at-bats as the designated hitter, and he's not expected to play the field for a while after missing five weeks with a torn pectoral muscle in his chest. Fantasy owners should activate Guerrero right away.

Click here for all of the latest MLB transactions.

They Said It
Steve (New York): Is Josh Johnson a top-10 starting pitcher?

Jayson Stark: I'll vote yes on that. I keep hearing scouts and hitters describe him as a young John Smoltz. That's good enough for me.
-- Full chat transcript


Eric (Boston): Great call Francisco Liriano, buddy. Does he turn it around and at least be a top-25 pitcher this year?

Pierre Becquey: Yeah, I'm eating a bunch of crow on that one. I think I've got a feather stuck in my teeth. I do think he's still a top-25 pitcher. The skill is still there, it's not like he's got Kazmir-ian problems. He just has to figure out how to make do with his arsenal, which still contains a fastball with movement and a very good changeup.
-- Full chat transcript
Tuesday's fantasy chat schedule:

AJ Mass, 11 a.m. ET
Brendan Roberts, 3 p.m. ET

On The Farm
Clay Buchholz already has a no-hitter in the majors, so anything he does at Triple-A Pawtucket probably won't impress. On Monday, Buchholz put on a show at Louisville, throwing eight perfect innings before a Danny Richar single to left field leading off the ninth ended his quest for history. Buchholz struck out seven and didn't walk anyone in the one-hitter, throwing 70 of 96 pitches for strikes. Yeah, he's ready for the bigs again, but the Red Sox don't have room at this point, so fantasy owners need to wait.

• The Mariners' Triple-A team in Tacoma scored 12 runs in a rout of Nashville, with a number of players of potential fantasy interest thriving. Designated hitter Jeff Clement -- catcher eligible -- singled three times, upping his batting average to .302. April 2006 hero Chris Shelton -- playing third base -- doubled twice and raised his average to .303. First baseman Bryan LaHair -- slugging a Branyan-like .538 -- had four hits and knocked in two runs. Finally, if you're wondering what happened to former White Sox speedster Jerry Owens, he's in Tacoma, running. He stole his eighth base. Any of these Rainiers could be in Seattle at some point.

• Now that Alexei Ramirez is hitting for the White Sox (four hits, three RBIs, three runs Monday), it quells the rumors that prospect Gordon Beckham will take over at shortstop this season. In fact, Beckham has been playing some third base for Double-A Birmingham, which should worry floundering Josh Fields a bit. Beckham's bat looks ready, as he knocked in five runs Monday on three hits, including a home run. He's hitting .307 for the Barons with a .882 OPS. Incidentally, once-potential Padre Aaron Poreda (from the failed Jake Peavy deal) tossed six strong innings, evening his record at 4-4 with a 2.58 ERA.

Looking Ahead
• It's Zack Greinke time again! The best pitcher in baseball -- well, statistically, so far -- is back on the mound Tuesday with his 0.82 ERA and 7-1 record. He'll be opposed by Edwin Jackson of the Tigers, who threw a major league-high 132 pitches in his latest outing. The way Jackson is pitching, with a 2.55 ERA and three consecutive wins, you can't bench him, even against Greinke, but one has to wonder when the high pitch count will come back to haunt him.

• Many eyes from the New York metropolitan area and beyond will be on the game in Arlington, Texas, as Joba Chamberlain faces Kevin Millwood. Chamberlain retired two hitters in his most recent outing, against the Orioles, leaving when an Adam Jones line drive deflected off his right knee. Chamberlain said immediately after that game that he would make his next start, and it appears he was correct. Millwood is in the top 10 in the American League in ERA and WHIP, yet remains unowned in nearly a third of ESPN leagues.

• Kris Medlen of the Atlanta Braves is making his second start and hoping it goes better than his first, in which he combined to walk and hit six batters in three messy innings of a 9-0 loss. Good luck, kid, you're facing Tim Lincecum, fourth in baseball in strikeouts and with one loss in nine starts. I wouldn't have used Medlen last week in fantasy, nor will I here.

• For more on Tuesday's games, check out Daily Notes.