video thumbnail

CIN@TB: Price fans 12 over 7 2/3 strong frames

The Rays and Yankees like to keep things close in the standings and even closer on the scoreboard. New York and Tampa Bay have had four of their six meetings this season decided by one run, and they'll reconvene on Wednesday for a game that will pit David Price against veteran Freddy Garcia.

The Rays and Yankees have each taken a game -- both by the thinnest of margins -- in this series, and New York owns a one-game edge (4-3) in the season set. The Yankees are 5 1/2 games up on the Rays in the division, but they'll still play one another 12 more times and will conclude the season against each other in September.

Price, the top overall selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, dropped a one-run decision to the Yankees right before the All-Star break. He's managed a 3-1 career record with a 4.15 ERA in 10 appearances against New York, and the southpaw knows that the Rays need a solid effort on Wednesday.

"That's the role I want to live in," said Price of his position at the top of Tampa Bay's rotation. "That's the way we all feel right now. We have to have some people step up for us if we're going to make a push for this. I know everybody in here wants it pretty bad, and I'm sure we're going to have some guys stepping up."

Price has completed at least six innings in eight of his last 10 starts, and he's gone 20 outings in a row without registering more walks than strikeouts. The left-hander ranks among the AL leaders in strikeouts but knows he needs to tap into his dead-level best form against a division rival.

"They're fun to pitch against," Price said of the Yankees. "It's easy to get up for games like that."

New York got a strong pitching performance out of Bartolo Colon on Tuesday, and it hopes to see Garcia rebound from a shaky second-half debut on Wednesday. The rumor mill has the Yankees aggressively looking for starting pitching, but manager Joe Girardi doesn't think his starters will pitch tentatively.

"I wouldn't think they would be," said Girardi of seasoned veterans Colon and Garcia. "I would think that they've been here long enough to understand if they pitch the way they're capable of, they're going to be able to pitch. And you don't make too much of one start. ... You learn as you continue to grow and mature as a pitcher. I think that they're aware of that, and I don't think they'll put pressure on themselves. I don't."

Yankees: Garcia looking to bounce back
Garcia got lit up for five earned runs in his last start, but he had completed at least seven innings in seven of his previous eight outings. The 34-year-old right-hander has provided a consistent presence for the Yankees this season, and he's gone 8-2 with a 3.56 ERA in 15 career starts against Tampa Bay.

"I thought he was up a little bit," said Girardi of Garcia's last start. "He had had a pretty good layoff, and maybe that had something to do with it. I thought some of his offspeed got up in the zone."

Rays: Farm system providing depth
Catcher Robinson Chirinos, acquired from the Cubs as one of the pieces in last winter's Matt Garza trade, made his big league debut on Monday and followed up with another start on Tuesday. Chirinos, a 27-year-old native of Venezuela, had a hit in each of his first two games and batted .265 in 68 games for Triple-A Durham.

Worth noting
• Chirinos doubled off A.J. Burnett on Monday and became just the sixth Rays player to notch an extra-base hit in his first big league plate appearance. Brandon Guyer also achieved that feat this season.

• The Yankees own the second-best record in the AL -- behind division leader Boston -- and the third-best record in the Majors.

• New York has won seven straight series and has lost just two of its last 13 completed series. Comments