David Price first tried feigning amnesia when discussing his last two starts against the Yankees -- the team he's set to face on Saturday for the first time since coming to the Blue Jays from the Tigers before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline.
The starts -- on April 22 this season and Aug. 27 of last year -- were two of the worst in his career. He gave up 16 runs (all earned), 22 hits and four walks in 41/3 innings.
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Price remembered enough to recite stats like a form of penance.
"Two starts ago, I gave up nine straight hits,'' Price said on Friday at Yankee Stadium. "Nine straight hitters got a hit. Nobody walked, nobody lined out . . . nine straight. Whoever is throwing BP for the Yankees today won't give up nine straight hits.
"I'm going to throw the ball better [Saturday]. I have the utmost confidence in myself to go out there and throw the ball the way I'm capable of throwing it."
Price is 10-4 with a 2.45 ERA in 154 innings this season. The lefthander allowed one run and three hits in eight innings in his Blue Jays debut Monday.
He is an important addition for a team that is 31/2 games behind the AL East-leading Yankees. The 2012 AL Cy Young winner bolsters a rotation that includes Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey.
"He's done it before," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Price performing on big stages. "That was one of the reasons he was brought in, to give us a boost here. Our starting rotation had been solid, [but] we didn't have that one guy you look to, a low-contact type guy that can dominate a game.''
Gibbons said Price was an intimidating pitcher for his team to face and hopes Price's "dominating arm" and intensity will help the Blue Jays against a tough Yankees team. Price hopes for the same.
"This is the biggest stage in baseball. There's no bigger place to play than in New York at Yankee Stadium," he said. "We've got to go out there and win this series. Beating the Yankees is always a confidence boost. It doesn't matter where they are in the standings; when you beat those guys, it always feels a little more special."