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Rays' Price 'on a mission' for Game 2

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Published:   |   Updated: October 5, 2013 at 01:20 AM

BOSTON — David Price brought the funny Friday during his media session.

He told of renting a bicycle from Boston's Hubway bike sharing system and peddling his way to and from Fenway Park for Thursday's workout.

Any close calls?

“One curb, no cars,” he said, drawing laughs from the media.

When asked how he can match Monday's complete-game performance in the wild-card tiebreaker win at Texas, he replied, “nine innings.”

More laughs.

But Price, who starts today for the Rays in Game 2 of the American League division series against Boson, will bring a different outlook to Fenway Park.

“Anger,” Alex Cobb said.

Anger?

“More anger than I've seen in his eyes,” Cobb said. “When it's his day he's not out there to have fun. He's out there on a mission, and we're taking that mentality from him, also. It's a fight now. It's not just a regular game. It's serious for us. That's what a leader does. He shows you the way to go about your business.”

The Rays are turning to the 2012 AL American League Cy Young Award winner to even this best-of-five series after the Red Sox rolled to a 12-2 victory in Game 1.

“I think that's called focus,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “What he did in Texas the other night is really going to benefit him as a major-league pitcher now and in the future. If there were any hurdles for him to overcome, he overcame them.

“I'm really eager to see his next performance because I think it's going to be as good as he can be based on what he's done, where his confidence is at right now and this time of the year. He's very jacked up about this whole thing.”

Price, 10-8 with a 3.33 ERA this year, will be matched against John Lackey, who was 10-13 with a 3.52 ERA during the regular season.

Price is 10-6 with a 2.93 ERA in 20 career starts against the Red Sox, including a 6-1 record with a 1.88 ERA with two complete games in 10 starts at Fenway Park. He beat the Red Sox twice in Boston within a span of six days in July.

When asked to explain his success against the Red Sox, Price said it is no different than facing the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

“If you come with your B game, B-plus game, you have a pretty good chance to lose,” he said. “So it heightens your awareness. You start feeling butterflies probably a day earlier than when you normally would. Pitching in this ballpark, pitching against that team, it makes you just want it a little bit more.”

Cobb said he noticed the change in Price toward the end of the regular season as the Rays tried to clinch a playoff spot. They needed a one-game tiebreaker with the Rangers to advance to Cleveland for the wild-card game.

Price was so emotional Monday night that he cried on the field after the final out of the Rays' 5-2 victory.

That could have been his last start with the Rays depending on what happens this offseason. So, today's game could be his last start with the organization depending on what happens the rest of this series and with his contract in the offseason.

Because of that, Cobb said Price is motivated even more to lead his team all the way through the postseason.

“He's taking all that pressure and putting it on his shoulders,” Cobb said. “It's a 'Let's go. Give me all the pressure.' ”

rmooney@tampatrib.com

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Twitter: @RMooneyTBO

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