NEW YORK - The Rays return to Boston tonight and will pick up where they left off when Thursday's game was rained out - battling the Red Sox for first place in the American League East. The pitching matchups are the same as the last game played during that series - David Price against Felix Doubront. The Rays won 5-1 on Wednesday as Price threw his third complete game in his past four starts. That win mixed with the quick turnaround for the makeup date could make him just the third visiting pitcher since 1929 to win twice at Fenway Park in a five-day span.
Lefty Grove of the Philadelphia Athletics did it in 1929 (May 1-2) and Rip Collins of the St. Louis Browns did it in 1931 (July 14 and 17). "I'm not going to overthink it," Price said. "That's the offense that has the best approach every day. They're not going to help the starter out. I don't think they're just going to come out hacking. "They're still, even though I've thrown a lot of strikes ever since I've come back, I still believe they're going to make me prove it again, that I'm going to pound that strike zone." Price threw 97 pitches on Wednesday, 72 for strikes. He struck out four but didn't walk a batter. In his five starts since returning from the disabled list, Price has walked only one batter and is 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA. There is a feeling in the clubhouse that Price's return helped the rotation find another gear, a theory supported by the fact Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson and Chris Archer have yet to lose a game since Price was activated from the disabled list. Price is not buying that theory. "The recognition that I feel like I've gotten over the past however long we've been throwing the ball well, it does mean a lot to me," Price said. "But I'm on the mound one out of every five days." Price said Moore, Hellickson and Archer have put in the work, from the offseason to spring training to the four days between starts to be this successful. "I might have a little tidbit to do with that," Price said. When asked about this extended run by the Rays rotation (24-1 in past 26 games), Price said, "To have as many (starters) as we do throwing the ball is incredible, it is. "I know everybody on this team is probably taking it in stride, but what we're doing right now, it doesn't get done a whole lot, and it is very special, and it's fun to be a part of." email@example.com (813) 259-7227 Twitter: @RMooneyTBO