The Yankees face one of their biggest tests of the season when David Price (6-7 3.63 ERA) takes the hill for the Rays at Yankee Stadium tonight. Not only is Price one of baseball's best pitchers on a consistent basis, but he's got something to prove these days.
Lately, it seems as though the 2012 AL Cy Young winner has realized that he's playing for next year's contract. Tampa's dominant lefty has finally reached the end of his deal. Not only may Price walk at the end of the year, but with the Rays' struggles early on this season, they may end up dealing him to a contender at the trade deadline.
So how has Price responded to the rumors? No big deal, he's just recorded 54 strikeouts with only 5 walks in June. In fact, he's looking to join Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez as the only pitchers to record at least 10 strikeouts in six consecutive games. When you join that kind of company, think eight-figure contract, if not nine.
In an interview with MLB.com, Price said, "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."
Unfortunately for New Yorkers, the Yankee lineup is strewn with hard hitting lefties. Normally that's an advantate with the short porch in right field, but Price has only allowed 11 extra base hits against lefty batters in all of 2014.
Who can be the saving grace for NY? Alfonso Soriano and Jacoby Ellsbury, both notorious for battling against southpaws, are a combined 8 for 13 lifetime against Price. Expect to see them in the heart of the order tonight. If they don't come through in big spots, it could spell the 8th loss in the last 10 games for the Yankees.
Hiroki Kuroda (5-5, 4.23 ERA) will generally keep the Yankees in the game, but you have to score runs against this phenom to win. Can Girardi push the right buttons? Tune in at 7:00pm EST on SnapCall to find out!