A better Price hard to find
Lefty whiffs 8 in 93-pitch shutout against Tribe
DETROIT -- David Price's Major League debut came two weeks before Greg Maddux's final start. He did not have much overlap. He now has a parallel, now that he finally has a Maddux.
It's the term given for a complete-game shutout in fewer than 100 pitches. It's something Price, who lives by the mantra of outs in three pitches or fewer, has threatened in the past. He got there Friday night with room to spare for his third career shutout.
"It might be one of my most memorable games so far in my career," catcher James McCann said of Price's 93-pitch performance against the Indians in Friday's 4-0 win. "When you look up at the board going into the ninth inning and he hasn't thrown 90 pitches, that's unbelievable. I really don't have words to describe how good he was tonight."
Some historical perspective might be a start.
Not since Armando Galarraga's would-be perfect game against Cleveland in 2010 had a Tigers pitcher tossed a shutout in 93 pitches or fewer. The only other Tigers pitcher to do it in the last 25 years was a little less noteworthy: John Doherty blanked the Orioles on 92 pitches on Sept. 24, 1993.
The only other pitcher in the Majors to do it this season was Mark Buehrle, who shut out the Nationals on 93 pitches last week.
"If you can go nine innings in this game, first and foremost, that's fantastic," Price said. "But to do it under 100 pitches, that's always good."
Add in last Sunday's win against the White Sox, and he's just the fifth Tigers pitcher in the last 15 years to throw back-to-back complete games, joining Rick Porcello last year, Justin Verlander three different times, Mark Redman in 2002 and Steve Sparks in 2001.
"His focus is always good," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said, "but the last two outings, it's almost like he's turned it up a notch."
He also became just the second Tigers pitcher since 1983 -- and the first since Jeremy Bonderman in 2007 -- to induce four double plays.
"I take pride in throwing strikes and getting guys out quickly," Price said. "With the double plays, that's eight outs on four pitches."
Above all else, however, Price's pure pitching is some of the nastiest he has shown as a Tiger, tough enough that the lefty-righty matchups don't seem to matter much against him these days.
"Brandon Moss came to the plate after he struck out [Yan] Gomes for the second time and he said, 'You know, he's one of the few guys in the league that it doesn't matter whether you're left-handed or right-handed. He's just as hard on righties as he is on lefties.' When he's on, he's pretty special," McCann said.
Part of McCann's job is to hit left-handed pitching. He would not want to hit against Price. Cleveland Indians hitters weren't too thrilled about it, either -- even the ones who are paid to hit lefties.
"Every pitch, fastball, breaking balls, had so much life," Ryan Raburn said. "And it was almost never in the middle of the plate, just about everything on the corners."
That included a changeup that looked like a breaking ball.
"That thing, not only was it fading away, but it dropped off the table," McCann said. "I mean, when he's on, I wouldn't want to stand in the box against him."
He doesn't have to. The rest of the league does.