This afternoon, David Price picked up his fourth win with a ten strikeout, no walk performance against the Blue Jays. But with 118 pitches, Joe Maddon pulled Price from the game with 2 outs in the ninth inning, despite no runners on base, denying Price the shot at a complete game.

After the game, Todd Kalas pulled Price aside and asked him about being pulled in the ninth. What follows is not the face of a happy man…

Sorry about the crappy audio, but if you couldn’t make it out. At the very end, Price turns his head away and says, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

We understand Price’s frustration and love that he has that fire in his belly despite his typically jovial personality. But we also can’t blame Maddon for making the move.

In his career, Price has only thrown 120 pitches in a game once. That was a 122-pitch loss to the Twins last July. If Price stays in, there is a good chance he exceeds that mark.

And consider that the Rays have had the healthiest starting rotation in the majors the last few years. That doesn’t happen by accident. It happens because Maddon and the front office are cautious with their young arms.

Remember, it always better to pull a pitcher too soon than too late.

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32 Comments

  1. Tony says:

    Heat of the moment....Maddon did the right thing and more importantly, we got the win.

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  2. Amanda says:

    If you keep treating your star players like they're babies, they'll go somewhere else to grow up.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      That's a very fair point. I just hope that Price and the others remember all the 5th and 6th innings that Maddon left them in when other managers would have panicked.

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    • Sarah says:

      How is pulling a pitcher who has thrown 118 pitches "treating him like a baby?" I thought Maddon's quotation in today's newspaper made the point well: the game was the Rays' to win, not David's. I appreciate Price's determination, but it's not all about his desire to have the personal milestone of a complete game.

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    • Jim says:

      This is more like Price acting like a baby than being treated like one. Shieldsy had two CG's in a row and got pulled after the 8th inning with 109 pitches in his 2-1 win. He wasn't happy either, but understood it is a team game. Price is 25, he will learn.

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    • Derek says:

      lol

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  3. Razzlegator says:

    If this is about Price, then Joe did the wrong thing. If this is about the Rays, then Joe did the right thing. This is about the Rays, imo.

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  4. Ro says:

    I just hope Joe made it clear to David the points that have been made here. I'm with Amanda though. For all we know, one pitch could have taken care of it. I mean, one out. No chance for it, really? Just kinda sad. I get that it's about the team, but one out. I just hope David fully understands the reasoning.

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  5. MJ says:

    ha awesome. You have to love his reaction to getting pulled w/ one out to go.

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  6. D-Rome says:

    Some guy named Nolan Ryan once threw over 250 pitches in a game. I hear he ended up playing a long time. I think Price would have been ok if he stayed in.

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    • Jim says:

      And when he was 23, Al Leiter threw 160 pitches in a game and he claims that ruined him for the next 4 years.

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    • Scot says:

      The Rays look at more than one data point when they institute a policy. The evidence is pretty clear that tired arms lead to injury. But like IQ, there is a range of abilities and limits. One person's 150 pitches is another's 75.

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      • Sarah says:

        Scot, that is quite true. But how do you know, a priori, whether Price is one of those workhorses, or one of those guys for whom 120 pitches in May will lead to fatigue in August? I don't think he's been pitching long enough for the Rays to know that.

        And to all those who say "back in the day they threw 200 pitches a game" -- that may be true, but we really don't have statistics on how many careers were cut short by fatigue and injury. Back when players were paid like teachers, teams could afford to burn through pitchers and dump them when they burned out. Today, players represent expensive investments and the team has an interest in protecting their longevity. I would think this is ultimately better for players, too.

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  7. Don says:

    Here is the dividing line.. IF you are a strict pitch count person(Maddon) then when its past its past..no decision.....
    BUT if you treat your Stars with a certain amount of respect..then you go with your best pitcher to get "HIS" last out...IF he gets beat then you when down with the BEST you have...WHAT IF Lind hits a home run off Farnsworth..and your best pitcher is sitting on the bench with "too many pitches?
    ASk Drysdale, gibson, Whitey ford, Koufax ect. about that BS!

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  8. Derek says:

    Who cares? Maybe it's time for him to grow the f*uck up.

    It's one out in one game of the 33 or so starts he will make in this one year of his hopefully long career. Man up, shut up, and get back to work. Price isn't the one signing checks. Price is an employee. In my place of business, you don't act like that when your boss pulls rank on you. You shut up, do your job and collect your check.

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    • Don says:

      Sounds like your "real happy" In Your work place...why not speak up and tell your boss how you really feel...or just collect"your check"....DIfference,
      Price wants to be THE MAN" not an "employee"..

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      • Derek says:

        Seems to me like he wants to be THE BOY.

        He is an employee, end of story. I don't know what kind of work you do/did, but I'm pretty sure you've never acted like that around your boss, and if you did, you weren't around for much longer.

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        • Don says:

          So MAddon is Going to FIRE Price because he told Maddon how he feels.. after all he is the "employee"!.... "BOY" and all..

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          • Derek says:

            If he wants to cry and complain about one out, I have no respect for him. Clearly he shouldn't be fired, and clearly I wouldn't imply that, although maybe it wasn't so clear to you. All I'm saying is, you don't act like a child in front of paying costumers, and you don't disrespect the guy that let you close out the ALCS as a rookie. Like Maddon said, this is a team effort. Price needs to learn how to take one for the team. Even if this was a power play by Maddon, the reasons he had for taking him out outweighed the reasons Price had for staying in.

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  9. Amanda says:

    The interesting thing is that we're going to have a litmus test over the next few years. Thanks to Nolan Ryan, the Rangers have done away with pitch counts throughout the organization. It's going to be interesting to keep an eye on how their pitchers (especially the ones coming up through the system) react to a return to no limits. Will it make them stronger? Will it wreck their careers? Will it be like Scot said, where one person's 75 may be another person's 150, so we'll see a mix bag of results?

    Ooh, something just dawned on me while listening to Ron and Ian on 620 just now, with them quoting Maddon saying, "It's the Rays' game to win. It's not David's game to win." ... Does Price have a complete game bonus in his contract?

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    • Derek says:

      How many pitches are their pitchers averaging? I doubt it's anymore than any other teams pitchers. The Rangers have one of the better GMs in the game, and I doubt he would stand by and let Ryan ruin his guys.

      It's not really a litmus test either, as you're comparing x amount of pitchers to y amount of pitchers, and x will be a lot smaller than y.

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      • Amanda says:

        Exactly, Derek. Instead of going by a set-in-stone number, the manager is allowed to go on things like how the pitcher is feeling that day. Just because there's no pitch count doesn't mean they're all going to be forced to pitch into the 130s. But it may relax a few pitchers who may be looking over their shoulders at a pitch count coming up in the 8th inning and worrying about that instead of the task at hand.

        And Nolan Ryan is the CEO and part-owner, so the GM is going to do what his boss says. And on top of that, this isn't some rogue owner who's either some pencil-pushing geek or a fan who wants to make it his fantasy team ... this is a Hall-of-Fame pitcher who had one of the greatest careers ever. He's lived it. He KNOWS it. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. (And, he still had the arm left to lay that beautiful beat-down on Robin Ventura.)

        And you can have it as a litmus test if you just compare one team to another, not the whole league to one team. Let's just take the Rays for example, as they're married to pitch counts and statistics and because they're our team. If we just take the Rays' and Rangers' pitchers for, say, a six-year cycle, that's an easy comparison.

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        • Derek says:

          It's bullshit. Whether you believe it or not. Ryan can say whatever he wants, but I promise you, nothing has changed.

          As for pitch count. There is no set number for the Rays either. It's not like they sent Price out for the 9th, and Hickey said, "118 and he is done, Maddon." I had to watch the game on gameday, so I didn't see, but I'm sure it had to with something more than the number 118, or 120.

          Ryan is the part owner, and he pays his GM to do his job. If he wanted to do the GM's job, he wouldn't have extended him over the offseason. Again, I promise, nothing has changed.

          It's still a flawed test. Our farm system is a lot better and pitcher heavy. We should have better pitchers by default, not because we treat them better. Although, the way we treat them has been cited as reason for our strong system.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      MLB teams are typically not allowed to put clauses in contracts directly related to performance. So no bonus for 20 Wins or a .300 batting average. But they have found ways around that. Like, a common bonus for relievers is "games finished." really that means "saves," as in, "we'll give you more money if we use you as a closer." so I guess you could do the same thing with a starter where "games finished" is code for "complete games."

      Also, the interesting thing about high pitch counts back in the day, was that pitchers were weeded out that way. Teams didn't use the bullpens as much so a starting pitcher had to throw a lot of pitches. And if a guy in the minors couldn't do that he never made it to the majors. It didn't matter if he was Sandy Koufax for 5-6 innings. If he couldn't go 8-9, he was considered a bust. Either that, or the guy got hurt.

      So sure, a lot of guys can do it. The Seavers and the Ryans. But to find those guys, you are going to lose a lot of Pedros. How many great pitchers did we never get to see or read about because they couldn't throw 130 pitches every start or blew out their arm trying?

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      • Amanda says:

        Wow, interesting stuff, Cork! Thanks for cluing me in on that. So in that sense, he could have a "games finished" clause in his contract. (Or, maybe not, if you look at it by the letter of the law.)

        I see what you're saying, but that's why I'm really interested to see how the Rangers do over the next few years. I'll never say I'm rooting for another team, but I'm really interested to see how their pitchers come up through their system. He could be 100 percent wrong ... or he could be spot on. We won't really know until we see it play out.

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        • Beth says:

          But first you'll have to see whether Rangers pitchers really do throw more pitches - just because there are no set limits doesn't mean they will actually keep them in there longer. Once you've determined whether they are throwing more pitches, you can then compare their longevity and injury history with those of other teams.

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  10. Alex says:

    It was 1 out. Why pull him? He had dominated Escobar the whole game. At worst he would of throw an extra 5-8 pitches? I'm sure Maddon saved Prices arm by pulling him *end sarcasm*. I'm glad we are pissing off our star pitcher whose going into arbitration this year. Really encourage them to sign here

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    • Beth says:

      So having a manager who is concerned with your long term health is going to make you not want to sign with a team? I'm not following the logic here.

      And by the way, my guess is that Price has by now forgotten the whole thing, while we are still talking about it!

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  11. Don says:

    as I said it goes back to respect for your best players (pitchers) .....
    Would you rather have D. Price try to get one guy out (after 100 pitches) or someguy named Farnsworth....
    MAddon answered that question at least to David Price.....SO everybody is Happy...right?

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  12. pete says:

    Price is a perfectionist. That is well known. I understand his anger in getting pulled but crying like a baby wasn't what i expected from him and to me was disappointing.

    Knowing that he strives for perfection every time out, makes me hope that this move pushes him even harder.

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  13. Tony says:

    Wow...........All of you saying that Maddon made the right decision about pulling Price would be singing a different song if Farnsworth blows the save!!!! You let him face one batter and if he gets on then you pull him....period!!! Yeah TB good luck with signing him long term!! Hey at least we will get to watch him at the trop when he comes to town playing for NY or Boston!!!!

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    • Sarah says:

      Tony, I'm sure the Rays WILL have trouble signing him long term -- and it will be completely unrelated to that last out.

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