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.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.