Price knows he needs his 'A' game vs. Sox

BOSTON -- Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said he wasn’t surprised that David Price rode one of those rental bikes now ubiquitous in Boston from the hotel to the ballpark Friday morning.

“It doesn’t surprise me, anything that he does,’’ Maddon said before the Rays' 12-2 loss in Game 1. “As an example, did you see him throw his bullpen with his Vanderbilt football uniform on? Outstanding.

“Riding the bike has never been my thing. It doesn’t surprise me, anything that David does. I love his ways. He’s a young man -- he’s Peter Pan. He’s going to be that way forever, and I love that about him. I wish more of our guys could be that way. So anything David does, understand, should not surprise you.’’

It will not surprise the Red Sox, or anyone else for that matter, if Price comes up big for the Rays in Game 2 of the AL Division Series on Saturday. Price has been a handful for the Sox ever since he entered Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS as a rookie reliever and struck out J.D. Drew with the bases loaded in the eighth, then pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.

He’s 2-2 with a 2.48 ERA in five starts against the Sox this season, holding them to a .167 batting average (19 for 114) with 30 strikeouts and 3 walks in 32 2/3 innings.

“I can't give you all my secrets, but honestly, I don't know, man,’’ Price said when asked about his success against the Sox. “It's just pitching against the Red Sox or pitching against a team like the Yankees, you know the history behind those franchises. You know what they're capable of doing. Every single year, year in, year out, they are, they're going to be a postseason team, and you know you're going to have to come with your best. If you come with your ‘B’ game, ‘B plus’ game, you have a pretty good chance to lose.

“So it heightens your awareness. You start feeling butterflies probably a day earlier than what you normally would. Pitching in this ballpark, pitching against that team it makes you want it just a little bit more.’’