Monday, October 20, 2008

The Price is Right

Following the dramatic conclusion of Game 7 of the ALCS Sunday night, it’s evident that rookie southpaw David Price will play a significant role for the Rays in the upcoming World Series – a development that could have dire consequences for the National League champion Phillies. Coming out of the bullpen in the late innings, Price’s 96 mph fastball and biting 88 mph slider will not only neutralize Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, the potent 3-4 combo in the Philadelphia lineup, but will also render left-handed DH/pinch-hitters Greg Dobbs, Matt Stairs, and Geoff Jenkins practically useless. With journeyman Chris Coste the only right-handed bat available, Charlie Manuel’s hands will be tied.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Price, less than two months into his major league career, will be in a position to play such a crucial role in the Fall Classic. Any astute baseball fan realizes that come October bats are slow (especially in this post-performance enhancing drug era) and therefore vulnerable to high heat and biting breaking balls darting through the zone. The list of young power relievers who have made their mark in the postseason is virtually endless. Mariano Rivera (Yankees, 1996), Francisco Rodriguez (Angels, 2002), and Adam Wainwright (Cardinals, 2006) are just three of the most recent flame-throwers whose high-octane arsenals helped seal the deal in highly leveraged situations and propelled their teams to the Promised Land. And now David Price stands poised to join them.

True, the Phillies have a more lethal and balanced lineup, as well as young stud Cole Hamels (whose 38 career wins at 24 are 15 more than Johan Santana had at the same age) atop the rotation. However, Price’s ability to neuter Philadelphia’s power bats in the late innings combined with a deeper pitching staff and home field advantage should bode well for Joe Maddon & Co. The result: the Rays win their first ever championship in seven games.

1 comment:

Evan said...

A well written picce on young Mr. Price. I look forward to grabbing him in my fantasy league next year. Go Rays, the new dynasty for the 21st Century.