David Price became the youngest American League pitcher in eight years and the first in Tampa Bay Rays history to win 20 games in a season when he allowed five hits and two runs over seven innings against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
The 27-year-old is a leading contender for the Cy Young Award having gone 12-1 with a 2.26 ERA, 127 strikeouts and 29 walks over his last 18 starts. For the season he is 20-5 with an MLB-best 2.56 ERA.
Not since Minnesota’s Johan Santana in 2004, has a pitcher so young won so often in the A.L.
“That's 20, and he's done it in a very consistent manner,” Tampa Bay coach Joe Maddon said, according to MLB.com. “He's pretty much been the same guy every time out.”
With less than a week to go in the regular season there are four pitchers with at least 20 wins — and two of them are from Middle Tennessee. In addition to Price, a Murfreesboro native and former Vanderbilt All-American, R.A. Dickey is 20-6 with a 2.69 ERA for the New York Mets.
Dickey, a Nashville native and Montgomery Bell Academy graduate, got there Thursday when he threw a season-high 128 pitches and struck out 13 Thursday in a victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The last Mets pitcher before him to win as many games in a season was Frank Viola in 1990.
“I was 8-13 last year,” Dickey said. “Getting to 20-6 wasn't easy.”
The only American Leaguer other than Price with 20 wins is Jered Weaver, who is 20-4 for the Los Angeles Angels.
“It feels good, it does,” Price said. “Without my teammates, what they've done for me all year, every five days, it's been very special. So thanks to all these guys, the coaches and the training staff, it was fun.”
Price broke into the Major Leagues late in 2008 and helped the Rays reach the World Series. His latest performance kept his team’s slim playoff hopes alive this season.
“We still have a chance to get there,” Price said.