Discussion

David Price keeps it exclusive

Updated: May 16, 2011, 12:26 PM ET
By Buster Olney

David Price says he has had conversations with Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey about how he can ride his fastball inning after inning, depending on the quality of Price's command and fastball on a given day. You could pitch six innings without using anything other than your fastball, Hickey has told Price.

And Price has taken all this to heart. "Why not keep throwing it," he said the other day over the phone, "until they prove they can hit it?"

In his last start, Price relied on his fastball the way a great poker player sticks with his rules of engagement: It was working against the Indians, so he did not change. Price threw 112 pitches against the Indians, and incredibly, 103 (92 percent) were fastballs. That ranks among the highest percentage of fastball use in recent seasons for any starter throwing at least 100 pitches, according to the information compiled by Daniel Braunstein of ESPN Stats & Information:

"Here are the top 10 starts since 2009 (minimum 100 pitches) ranked by fastball (four-seam and two-seam) percentage. Price's start Wednesday ranks second; his start before that ranks 26th. I included fastball velocity just to show how much harder Price throws than the other guys on the list. It's also worth noting that Bartolo Colon had a start this season with 92.6 percent fastballs, but he fell just shy of the 100-pitch minimum (97 pitches overall, 90 fastballs).

Price shows up on this list a lot, as you can see, and presumably, he'll be throwing a whole lot more fastballs tonight, when he starts against the Yankees, at a time when the Rays are playing well and the Yankees are slumping.

Price told Rick Stroud that he feels extra motivation against the Yankees.

Notables

• Dating back to September 2009, Jose Bautista has 78 homers -- 78 -- in 209 games. He had three more on Sunday, and has 16 in 32 games this season.

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