Overcast 48° Good Afternoon
Overcast 48° Good Afternoon

David Price hopes to put past playoff failures behind him

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher David Price gestures

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher David Price gestures during a team workout at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. The Blue Jays start the American League Divisional Series against the Texas Rangers in Toronto on Thursday. Photo Credit: AP / Darren Calabrese

TORONTO -- A career resume that one day could end up, assuming good health the rest of the way, making an argument for enshrinement in Cooperstown has a singular blemish on it David Price is eager to rectify.

But it's not an obsession.

"I've got to treat it the same as every other game, just go out there and make pitches and let our defense play defense," said Price, who will start the Blue Jays' first postseason game since 1993 Thursday in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Rangers at Rogers Centre. "Put up some early zeros, let our offense settle in, go out there and get that lead."

It rarely has been that simple for Price in the playoffs. The 30-year-old is 104-56 with a 3.09 ERA in his eight-year career but 1-5 with a 4.50 ERA in 10 postseason games (five starts), without a victory since 2008 when he was a 22-year-old rookie with the Rays.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, as one would expect, isn't concerned about Price's past seasons. He's still reveling in this one, which saw his team surge past the Yankees in the second half, in large part because Price went 9-1 with a 2.30 ERA after being traded here by the Tigers at the July 31 trade deadline. Price finished 18-5, 2.45, a strong AL Cy Young award candidate.

"I don't give that any thought at all," Gibbons said of Price's checkered postseason past. "I know how good he is. Since we've acquired him he's been a key guy to get us over the top. That's the way playoff baseball goes sometimes."

Gibbons smiled.

"If I'm a betting man, you can't bet in this game," he said, "but I would bet on him."

The Rangers, however, are sending a pitcher to the mound they believe is a good bet, especially against the Blue Jays. Righthander Yovani Gallardo went 13-11, 3.42, including 2-0 against Toronto, baseball's highest scoring team. He did not allow a run in two starts.

"I think we've come up with a good game plan, just being aggressive," Gallardo said.

It will primarily be up to him to silence, or least keep somewhat tame, a raucous crowd of about 50,000 -- the Blue Jays played to mostly sellouts throughout the second half -- as seemingly an entire country has been galvanized by the home team in a way not seen here in 22 years.

"I really don't feel that fans understand how they can have their hand in sporting events," Price said. "Baseball's the same. It can turn 95 [mph] into 96. It can make that hitter get to that pitcher's pitch. It pumps you up. I mean, there's definitely, whenever you have that many fans and they're that loud, it's just that added element of -- I mean, everybody out there tomorrow's going to have adrenaline, but it will take it to that next level and it's a big factor."

New York Sports