The Los Angeles Dodgers used six relief pitchers in a back-and-forth series opener against the San Diego Padres, including David Price on consecutive nights for the first time this season.
L.A. needed extra innings partly due to Corey Knebel and Kenley Jansen failing to protect leads in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. After Dennis Santana struck out Fernando Tatis Jr. to escape a bases-loaded jam in the 10th, Price took over the following inning.
He also navigated some trouble, which was followed by the Dodgers scoring five runs in the 12th inning. Corey Seager’s leadoff homer began that, and the rally included a sacrifice fly from Price.
“That was cool. Still got my hit streak intact. Still 2-for-my-last-3 in the regular season, and 3-for-my-last-4 if you include Spring Training,” he said. Unfortunately for Price, the sacrifice fly does indeed count and ends his ‘streak.’
Nevertheless, his contributions of getting a win, four strikeouts and the RBI in an extra-innings game marked a first for a Dodgers relief pitcher since Nap Rucker during the 1915 season.
David Price became the first @Dodgers reliever with a win, 4+ strikeouts and an RBI in an extra-inning game since Nap Rucker on July 9, 1915.
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) April 17, 2021
With Price having converted a save during his first time pitching on Jackie Robinson Day, the initial plan was to not have him appear against the Padres. “I was going to be down today but I told them I was good to go,” Price said after the win.
“If it went into extra innings and they needed me to go out there, I was more than willing to do that. Bardo told me, probably in the eighth inning, ‘If this thing happens to go longer than nine, just be ready.’ And I was ready.”
Price believes his back-to-back appearances could serve as a springboard for much such usage, but not until deeper into the season. “This isn’t going to be something for the whole season, they just don’t want to overuse me too much and put me in those situations too much early on in the season,” explained.
“I feel like I know my body well enough and know my arm. I will feel fine [Saturday], so that’s not an issue. If I was extremely sore right now or had a tender spot or a hot spot somewhere in my arm, I would know that by now. I feel fine.”
Price finding routine
After struggling in his initial appearances out of the bullpen this season, Price has steadily improved. He attributed that to setting a program as a relief pitcher, which he again referenced after going two hitless innings against the Padres.
“Still working on a routine, but it’s getting better day by day. Being able to execute pitches over my last two outings has been a lot better,” Price said. “Just kind of getting into a rhythm out on the mound because I’m not throwing any bullpens like I normally wood.
“It’s getting better appearance after appearance, so I’m encouraged by it.”
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