It was not just that he had to come out of the bullpen that made the 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game different for Tampa Bay Rays starter David Price.
It was that the design of the bullpen at Kansas City’s Kaufman Stadium caused Price to alter his preparation as his time to pitch approached.
Ultimately, though, Price’s second All-Star Game appearance was similar to his first in that he faced the minimum number of hitters and did not allow a run. This time, he pitched a perfect third inning for the American League in its 8-0 loss to the National League on Tuesday.
“I didn't throw a whole lot of strikes in the bullpen,” Price said, according to MLB.com. “It was a little bit different out there. I usually throw on flat ground before I get up on the mound. Obviously there's really not room to throw on flat ground. It was a little bit different, but it's fine. I was able to make some adjustments.”
The Murfreesboro native and Vanderbilt All-American was considered by many a leading candidate to start for the American League, as he did two years ago in his All-Star Game debut.
Then, he faced just six batters as he led the N.L. scoreless for two innings. He allowed an infield single with one out in the second but quickly got out of the inning when he got a double-play ground ball.
This time he came on ay the start of the third and retired all three batters he faced – one on a ground ball, one on a fly ball to the outfield and the last on a foul ball to the catcher. He threw seven pitches (five for strikes), the fewest of any pitcher for either side who went an entire inning.
“It's fun to go out there and be able to put a zero,” he said. “I'm trying to help us win. Obviously I'm throwing to a very good opponent. It was a good experience for me and I had fun.”
Price starts the second half of the season with an 11-4 record and a 2.82 ERA. He has just one loss in his last eight starts and has helped the Rays to third place in the American League East, one-half game behind Baltimore.
His next scheduled start is Saturday against Boston at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.