By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – With the Detroit Tigers clawing to reclaim the division lead as the season enters its final month, starting pitcher David Price turned in one of the worst appearances of his career Wednesday against the New York Yankees.
Price looked simply unrecognizable. He lasted just two innings and allowed eight runs on 12 hits – including nine in a row, the most ever allowed consecutively by a former Cy Young Award winner, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
“It was just an off-night,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “He left some balls up in the zone, middle of the plate. They hit some balls hard off him, they hit some balls not so hard and found some holes, and it was just an off-night for David Price.”
Ausmus said he tried to give Price the benefit of the doubt because of his history of pitching deep into games, but eventually the manager felt he had no choice but to give Price the hook after just two innings.
“He rarely, rarely has a game like this,” Ausmus said. “You feel like he’s going to get an out, and he’s at the bottom of the order, and you feel like he’ll get the next guy out, he’ll get a double play and he gets rolling, and I did feel like that, but it just reached a point where he was running out of steam and even the balls that weren’t hit well were finding holes. It just seemed like things weren’t going his way at the time.”
Price said he never lost confidence that he would be able to get out of the ever-worsening situation.
“That was never a thought that crossed my mind – that’s pathetic, and that thought right there would never go through my head,” Price said. “As soon as [Ausmus] pulled me out of the game, I had time to reflect on what happened. Out there on the field, that thought never crosses my mind.”
The bullpen session Price threw before the game gave no warning of what lay ahead; the session was his best of the season. Price, for whom Detroit traded center fielder Austin Jackson and starting pitcher Drew Smyly, said letting the team down was the worst part of the loss.
“I’ve had bad games before – not that bad,” Price said. “That’s probably the worst game I’ve ever had in my life, but I’ve been there before. It’s not going to stop the way I work the next four days. It’s not going to stop my love for the game of baseball. It was just one of those days. Everybody has them. Hopefully in five days, when I take the mound again, it’s going to be a lot better.”
Overall, Price has the big picture in mind; Wednesday’s game does not represent him, and he is determined not to let it affect him going forward.
“I felt fine the entire time I was on the mound, just things didn’t go my way,” Price said. “That’s baseball. That’s life period. I’m okay with it. It’s fine.”
For once, the bullpen provided a silver lining in the loss. The Tigers could need more innings than usual from their relievers Thursday because Kyle Lobstein will be making his first major league start. Ausmus, however, said the bullpen is still in good shape despite getting more work than expected Wednesday.
“Our bullpen was pretty efficient tonight, so no one really had high pitch counts,” Ausmus said. “Really all of them would be available tomorrow, in terms of their usage today, unless someone came in with something unexpected overnight, but in terms of their usage today, I don’t think it’s a problem in the bullpen … I don’t really foresee an issue.”