David Price dominated the Pirates yesterday. Then he stated a simple fact:
“I’ve never been as good as I am right now, period. Not in 2012, not in college, not in high school. This is the best pitcher I’ve ever been. I feel in complete control on the mound at all times.”
Hubris? Perhaps. It’s rare that you hear a ballplayer talking about himself like that, but it’s hard to argue with Price. He’s the first pitcher in more than a decade to strike out ten or more hitters in five straight starts. While his record is not stellar and his ERA sits at 3.63 due to some early rocky starts, he has a K/BB ratio of 144/14 over 124 innings. If he keeps that up — unlikely, but go with me here — it’d be the best such ratio ever.
Price’s confidence and dominance could not be coming at a better time for the Rays, who are shopping him. And who should land a nice haul for their ace lefty.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.