Price latest of Tigers strong starters

August, 6, 2014
8/06/14
12:44
AM ET
It took one game for the newest member of the Detroit Tigers starting rotation, David Price, to make a name for himself in the team’s long history.

Price became the first Tigers pitcher to strike out at least 10 hitters in his debut with the team. The Elias Sports Bureau noted that the previous mark was nine, a record shared by Wild Bill Donovan (1903) and Milt Wilcox (1977).

Price was anything but wild in this one. In fact, Tigers pitchers combined to go walk-free over the 12 innings.

Price was fired up to pitch in this contest, the second of three straight games in which the Tigers would be throwing a Cy Young Award winner against the Yankees (Elias notes it’s the first time a team has faced its league's last three Cy Young Award winners over a three-game span).

He averaged 94.1 mph with his fastball, a mile-per-hour better than his season average (though it should be noted that the seven starts in which he’s averaged his best velocity on his fastball have all come on the road).

It wasn’t Price’s fastball, but rather his changeup, that was a difference-maker for him. He threw 37, resulting in 14 outs (and only two hits allowed). That’s the same number of outs he recorded with the pitch in his last three starts combined.

This was actually the worst of the starts by Tigers pitchers in the last five games, though it provided a preview of how formidable the team's rotation will be. You can see the numbers in the chart above.

Inside the At-Bat: Avila’s game-winning homer
The Yankees had the right idea in pitching to Alex Avila throughout the night, throwing 11 of 16 pitches to the outer half of the plate or off the outside corner.

Entering the night, Avila had put only 31 percent of his swings in play against those pitches. That’s the eighth-lowest rate in the majors this season.

But Avila turned a weakness into a strength, getting both the game-tying seventh-inning single and 12th-inning go-ahead home run on outer-half pitches.

Avila became the first Tigers player to hit a regular-season home run in the 12th inning or later against the Yankees since Lou Whitaker in 1984.

Have no fear, Joe Nathan is here
Tigers closer Joe Nathan earned his 23rd save, though there was a nervous moment when Chase Headley led off the inning with a long fly out to right field.

Nathan has been much maligned for his performance this season but has held the opposition scoreless in 10 of his last 11 appearances.

In that span, he’s netted misses on 34 percent of the swings against him. Prior to this stretch, he was netting misses 22 percent of the time.

Stat of the Night
Both teams actually went walk-free in this game. It marked the first game in which each team pitched at least 12 innings and did not allow a walk since a July 25, 1917, game between the Dodgers and Pirates, started by Hall of Famers Rube Marquard and Burleigh Grimes.

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