ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- David Price was a postseason disappointment a year ago when he lost twice in the opening round to the only AL opponent he's never beaten, but the young Tampa Bay pitcher will get a chance to redeem himself today when he goes against righthander Colby Lewis in Game 3 of the American League Division Series between the Rays and Rangers.
The teams are tied 1-1 after splitting two games in Texas. The Rays are comfortable putting the ball in Price's hand, even though the lefthander hasn't won in more than a month and was 0-2 with a 4.97 ERA in a pair of losses at home to Cliff Lee in the 2010 ALDS.
"It's pretty unique . . . a good opportunity for me to have," Price said yesterday, conceding that his lack of success against the AL West champions is not easy to take. Price, 25, is 0-3 with a 5.67 ERA in six career regular-season starts against Texas, including a 3-0 loss to Lewis at Tropicana Field on June 1.
"It is something that I think about and something that I want to get over with," Price said. "I am not intimidated by this lineup by any means or anything like that. It is a very good offensive lineup, and they make it tough to pitch. But it's postseason baseball, and you have to be able to step up . . . "
Price won 19 games last season, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting behind Felix Hernandez, but he hasn't been nearly as consistent since being roughed up in last year's playoffs. He went 12-13 this season and was 0-2 over six September starts for his first winless month in three years as a starter.
Lewis is 3-0 in four career starts against the Rays, and he worked five scoreless innings of a no-decision against the Rays in Game 3 of last year's ALDS.