NEW YORK — Tampa Bay Rays LHP David Price makes his last start of the regular season tonight at Yankee Stadium still searching for his first win this month.
Price, who has lost his past three decisions, is winless in four September starts. In 26ß innings, he’s allowed 34 batters to reach base — 29 on hits and five on walks. He’s had only one perfect inning in his past 17 pitched.
Price said Tuesday that he needs to get back to pitching the way he did when he won seven of eight decisions after returning from the disabled list. And to do that, Price said he must, “have good stuff happen.”
Manager Joe Maddon said he doesn’t think Price has lost anything on any of his pitches. He thinks maybe his approach in certain situations has changed.
“I have all the faith in the world in him,” Maddon said. “I’d would like to believe he’s in pretty good shape for the start both mentally and physically. I didn’t see a dramatic dropoff in anything expect maybe an approach.”
CF Desmond Jennings hit and played catch Tuesday. His strained left hamstring showed some signs of improving but not enough for him to run.
The Rays are hopeful he will play at some point during these final five games of the regular season.
Playing for Jamey
3B Evan Longoria said the sting of losing the 2008 World Series has long since disappeared. When he thinks back to that season, he remembers mostly the good times and the magical moments of the Rays’ first winning season.
Longoria said he has found motivation this season from another source — RHP Jamey Wright, who has played in the major leagues since 1996 and has never reached the postseason.
“To be honest with you, I’ve played really the whole year thinking about Jamey Wright,” Longoria said. “I don’t know, for whatever the reason he’s been more of an inspiration for me than any past events or the sadness of not winning the World Series in 2008.”
There are a number of players on this team who have not reached the postseason, including SS Yunel Escobar, OF David DeJesus, 1B James Loney and LHP Wes Wright.
Longoria has known nothing but winning since he arrived in the big leagues in 2008. So has Price.
“Being a teammate of Jamey, you realize that it’s so special to be able to play in the postseason,” Longoria said. “He’s played 17 years and never been a part of it. I’ve been wanting to do it for him. To be able to celebrate with a guy like that when we make it in will be a really, really cool experience. And he’s a great teammate and a great guy, that also fuels the fire.”
Said Wright: “Hopefully I’m an inspiration. Feel sorry for the old guy who never got there before. I hope they’re feeling sorry for me helps us get there. Whatever it takes.”
Maddon didn’t expect to use INF Tim Beckham in high-leverage situations, much less give him a start during these crucial late-season games, but an 18-inning game and Jennings’ hamstring injury created an opportunity for Beckham.
Beckham has played well at second base and has a pair of hits and an RBI in six at-bats.
“He has contributed more to this point than I thought we were going to give him a chance to,” Maddon said.
1B James Loney on Monday became the 11th different Ray to have a walk-off hit this season. His was the first game-winning pinch-hit home run since Brandon Allen did it April 18, 2012. ... Forty players have played for the Rays this season. Only the Tigers and Reds (39 each) have used fewer players. ... LHP Jeff Beliveau and RHP Jesse Crain have yet to play.