The climb back continued last night, but not without some very tense moments. I don't mind that as long as things ultimately work out, but the only problem I did have with last night's game was that it didn't have to be that way. While the Rays did pay off, it's pretty easy to see that there's something wrong with David Price. It's not a physical thing. He's still bringing it in the mid-90s with his fastball. Where the problem comes in is that he's not relying on that heater enough.
For whatever reason, Price is "getting beat" with his secondary stuff way too much. Instead of using the cheese to blow hitters away, it's his slider and change that's made him look so hittable. A guy with his kind of heat and the kind of command that Price has demonstrated with it, should never get too much of the plate with his "lesser" pitches. Yet that's exactly what's happening so far this season, and that's why he's not following up his Cy Young from last season with too much success.
This is not the same mindset that got Price his award last season. Pitchers can be a very interesting breed. Sometimes they think way too much instead of relying on their stuff, and when that happens, they invariably get themselves in trouble. But is it all Price? It may not be. Maybe it's the catcher calling the game for him. I admit that I didn't really notice or pay attention to it last night, so I don't know if Molina has carte blanche to call the game for the Rays hurlers. That's something I'm definitely going to watch in the future though. It's entirely possible that pitch sequence is being dictated from the bench. Regardless of how he's being handled, though, something's got to change if Price is going to get anywhere near the heights he reached last season.
THE NBA (3-5 ATS/4-4 SU/0-8 TOTALS so far for the week)
BUTTA (no plays so far this week)
Heat (-7 1/2, U187 1/2) 95, BULLS 88 - You'll notice that I'm going against my numbers for this play, but damn the torpedoes! Here we go! The Bulls made the mistake of poking the bear in Game 1, and the Heat put them in their place in Game 2. I don't know that I expect a 37-point blowout like we had on Wednesday night, but it will still be a sizable win tonight for The Champs. That win the other night did nothing for them except pull them even in a series they feel like they should be up 2-0 in, and they're still behind the 8-ball as far as losing their home court in this series until they win a game in Chicago. That will be taken care of with another strong and focused effort tonight.
ALL THE REST
Spurs (+2 1/2, O202 1/2) 111, WARRIORS 104 - I'm not sure I agree with what my projection says for this game, and that all has to do with what my eyes have seen in the first 2 games of this series. The Spurs are in big trouble if they don't figure out a way to defend the perimeter.
THE SHOW (4-1 yesterday and 9-12 so far for the week)
BUTTA (1-0 last night and 4-5 so far for the week)
MARINERS (IWAKUMA -140) over Athletics (Straily) - The A's limp into Seattle fresh off being swept in a 4-game series by the surging Indians. Sometimes all it takes is a change of venue to re-energize a team and get them back on track, but I don't see that happening with Daniel Straily taking the bump. And that's especially true with Iwakuma going for the M's. He's 15-8 overall and 10-3 in home games over the last 2 seasons, and had been really stingy so far this season.
ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR
1. Pirates (Rodriguez -115) over METS (MARCUM) - Shawn Marcum is still trying to find himself since coming back from injury, and he's gone only 11-17 in home games over the last 3 years. I'd like to get on Rodriguez and his 5-2 lifetime record against the Mets, but the Bucs appear to be snakebit at CitiField since it opened.
2. CARDINALS (MILLER -180) over Rockies (Garland) - I know that Shelby Miller has a big league arm and above average stuff, but I'm not sure I can trust him yet. That's why I won't try to take advantage of Garland's 1-5 lifetime record against the Redbirds.
3. Yankees (Hughes +105) over ROYALS (DAVIS) - This may be the Yanks best chance to win a game in this series. Hughes is 4-1 lifetime against the Royals, and Wade Davis has really struggled with his command over his last couple of starts. The Bombers aren't hitting though, so I'm going to sit this one out.
RUN-(NING) LINES (6-4 ATS/6-4 SU/4-6 TOTALS yesterday and 32-31/31-29/29-34 so far for the week)
1. Angels (+1 1/2, O8 1/2) at WHITE SOX
2. Blue Jays (+1 1/2, O9 1/2) at RED SOX
3. TIGERS (-1 1/2, U8 1/2) over Indians
4. Yankees (+1 1/2, U8) at ROYALS
5. TWINS (+1 1/2, U8 1/2) vs. Orioles
6. ASTROS (+1 1/2, O8 1/2) vs. Rangers
7. MARINERS (-1 1/2, U7) over Athletics
8. RAYS (-1 1/2, U7 1/2) over Padres
9. Pirates (-1 1/2, O7 1/2) over METS
10. Phillies (+1 1/2, U9) at D-BACKS
11. Braves (+1 1/2, O8 1/2) at GIANTS
12. NATIONALS (-1 1/2, U7 1/2) over Cubs
13. Brewers (+1 1/2, U8) at REDS
14. Rockies (+1 1/2, U7 1/2) at CARDINALS
15. Marlins (+1 1/2, U8 1/2) at DODGERS
I have to say that it's very nice to have all games in prime time. It gives me a chance to get a little rest before having to kick things back into high gear for the weekend. Have a great day, be careful out there and I'll talk to you tomorrow.