Everyone knows how good David Price is. What everyone didn’t know, however, was just how good he would be in the Tigers’ season opener Monday.
Price took the mound to face the Twins and, simply put, shut them down. He was one out shy of going the distance, striking out five and yielding hits to five more, before Joe Nathan took over and shut the door. Price’s performance was masterful, even retiring the first 14 batters of the game.
The more intriguing part of the showing was the historic perspective involved. With the 8.2 scoreless innings, Price became the first member of the Detroit Tigers to record at least 26 outs and allow no runs on Opening Day since Micky Lolich went the distance and shut down the Senators exactly 45 years ago on April 6, 1970.
In stepped Price, the lifelong Tampa Bay Ray, who was tasked with facing the Twins, and simply dominated. He proved, by making some history, that he is one of the premier hurlers in a game controlled by pitchers. In fact, over in Milwaukee, Colorado’s Kyle Kendrick became only the second pitcher in franchise history to go at least seven innings and hold the opposition scoreless, in the former Phillie’s debut with the Rockies.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Price is one of the best. Since his first full season in 2009, the Vanderbilt product is one of only ten pitchers with at least ten wins in each season, a remarkable feat considering the lack of awe factor in Tampa’s lineups the last few seasons. Price’s name is consistently featured among the top in most stastical categories, along with the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright, and Felix Hernandez.
So it isn’t surprising, by any stretch of the imagination, that it was Price, one of the most dominant pitchers of our generation, who made some history today. Out of all the Tigers’ former pitchers, it wasn’t Jack Morris or Mark Fidrych who accomplished this feat. It wasn’t the dazzling Hideo Nomo, or the overpowering Justin Verlander. It wasn’t a long tenured Tiger or a homegrown talent. It was just David Price, who etched his name into the record books. But for Price, it was clearly just another day at the office.