Price starts Game 1 ... on 11 days rest

By Bob Elliott

BALTIMORE _ Well, hope you enjoyed your one-day of celebration.

You went to bed stress-free.

You had nary a concern of the New York Yankees and the ghosts of Yankee Stadium catching the Blue Jays.

There would be no repeat of 1987.

You were joyous in “your team” making the post-season play for the first time since 1993.

And around noon on Thursday you heard lefty David Price, the savoir and ace, would not make his Thursday start against the Orioles. 

That was always in the plan if the Jays clinched on Wednesday.

However, now Price will not throw this weekend against the Tampa Bay Rays which means he’ll be working on 11 days rest when he starts Game 1 of the best-of-five American League Division Series Thursday at the Rogers Centre.


Feel free to fret.

Price has made 19 starts on his regular four days rest this season, nine on five days, one on six and one on seven days rest.

And none on 11 days.

“It won’t be 11 days rest, because I will be throwing simulated games,” Price told reporters.

The lefty was scheduled to throw a simulated game against the Troy Tulowitzki and Jays bench players Friday afternoon at Tropicana Field. He arrived at Camden Yards Thursday morn with a fever of 101, By early afternoon the simulated game was back on, then after some time on IV and his temperature down to 99 but the game was off again.

Brett Cecil and Josh Thole both had a virus last month when the Jays were at home. Does Price have the same thing?

There would be a simulated game -- or “stimulated game” as Montreal Expos catcher Bobby Ramos used to say -- but minor leaguers from the Jays instructional league camp at the Bobby Mattick Training Center in Dunedin pitch would be at Tropicana Field to the returning shortsop. 

Tulowitzki is getting ready for the Houston Astros, the Yankees or which ever group of hitters survives Tuesday’s wild-card game and boards a charter for Toronto?

Could Price pitch three or four innings Saturday as a tune up against the Rays and start Thursday on regular rest?

“They wanted me to pitch so it would help me win personal awards,” Price told reporters. “I don’t really care about that.”

Price will throw one or two simulated games sometime this weekend and next week at the Rogers Centre.

“We have a plan,” said Price, who isn’t used to missing this much time.

Starting pitchers are creatures of habit.

Starting on 11 days rest is not normal.

He pitched 7 1/3 scoreless in Game 162 for the Detroit Tigers last year in a 3-0 win over the Minnesota Twins. He then lost his ALDS start to the Baltimore Orioles allowing two runs in eight innings.

He worked a complete game in a tie breaker, Game 163 for the Tampa Bay Rays in a 5-2 win over the Texas Rangers in 2013, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk, while fanning four as he threw 118 pitches. 

Facing the Boston Red Sox in the first round he allowed seven runs on nine hits in seven innings.
He won his 20th game in Game 159 of 2012, pitching seven innings and allowing two runs in a 6-2 win against the Chicago White Sox.

He started Game 162 working four innings and allowing six runs -- five earned -- in four innings in an 8-7 win over the Yankees in 2011. That year in the ALDS he lost his only start against Texas giving up three runs in 6 2/3 innings.

He pitched an inning of relief in Game 161 in a 4-0 win over KC in 2010. In the ALDS he went 0-2 in two starts against Texas with a 4.97 ERA.

And he worked seven innings allowing one run in a 13-4 win over the Yankees in 2009.

This season, his final outing was Game 154. 

Price last worked five innings Saturday allowing five runs -- four earned -- on six hits and one walk in five innings as the Jays beat the Tampa Bay 10-8. He threw 95 pitches as his season’s total climbed to 220 1/3 innings.

He has pitched 208 or more innings six of the previous seven seasons. His career high was 248 1/3 last year. 

Price is 1-5 with a 4.50 ERA in 10 post-season games making five starts, with his only win coming in relief.

Mark Buehrle starts Friday’s regular-season closing series against the Tampa Bay Rays with Marco Estrada to follow Saturday. If Buehrle has a good outing he good go again Sunday as he is 8 2/3 shy of 200 innings.  

But all eyes, along with worries and concern, point to Thursday night at the Rogers Centre.

Is 11 days rest too much?
Previous Jays starters in the first game of post-season play
vs. Kansas City
IP H R ER BB K Days rest

Dave Stieb, W 8.0 3 0 0 1 8 6

vs. Oakland

IP H R ER BB K Days rest
Stieb, L 5.1 8 4 4 2 6 6

vs. Minnesota

IP H R ER BB K Days rest
Tom Candiotti, L 2.2 8 5 5 1 2 6

vs. Oakland
IP H R ER BB K Days rest

Jack Morris, L 9.0 6 4 4 4 4 4             

vs. Chicago
IP H R ER BB K Days rest

Juan Guzman, W 6.0 5 3 2 8 3 4