David Price the Tiger saw a different Yankees team this time in the Bronx

By Rich Mancuso

David Price the former Tampa Bay left-hander was in the Bronx facing the Yankees again Tuesday night. This time he made his debut on the mound with the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers and nothing changed but the uniform.  Same results, as the Yankees got to Price early and he settled down striking out ten leaving after 8 2/3 innings with a 3-3 tie.

The win did not go to Price who had won his last four decisions at Yankee Stadium, the last one on July 1 when he pitched seven innings in a Tampa Bay 2-1 win. Detroit on a solo home run from Alex Avila in the 12th inning defeated the Yankees 4-3.

It’s a part of baseball. Players come and go all the time, even at the trading deadline. Price, last Thursday was the story of the non-waiver deadline period when the Tigers got another CY Young Award winner to join a pitching staff that already has two, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander in a three-team deal.

“A little weird, probably helped that I faced them multiple times,” Price said about getting a start against the Yankees in a Tigers’ uniform. Last time, Alfonso Soriano was in the Yankees lineup, always a tough out and Yangervis Solarte was at third. This time there were the trading deadline acquisitions for the Yankees, Martin Prado and Chase Headley.

Just like the Tigers, Yankees GM Brian Cashman went to work at the deadline and made some minor acquisitions that have become major in making the Yankees an improved team in their pursuit of becoming one of two wild card teams, or making a run at the divisional crown.

"Happy it's over, and happy we won," Price said. "Finally feel part of the team. The mound is still sixty feet away from home plate.” Prado got to Price in the fifth inning, a long home run to left field off a 2-0 fastball. It was the first Yankees home run for Prado, playing in the outfield where Soriano once was.

To the Yankees, Price was no different. He had a nasty changeup and for the exception of another home run, a solo shot to right in the second inning from Brian McCann, the Tigers are now aware they have what they want, another ace that will hopefully propel them to go far in the post season come October.

"He really looked exactly like he did in Tampa, except he had the Tiger uniform," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.

With Price now a Tiger, the Yankees are the first team according to the Elias Sports Bureau facing the last three Cy Young Award winners in three straight games.  And, Price became the first Tigers’ pitcher to strike out at least ten hitters in his debut.

“The changeup has come a long way for me the past year and a half and has opened doors for me and getting better,” Price said.  It was his 84th appearance and 83rd start against a team from the American League east where he has posted a 43-16 record with a 3.00 ERA.  So Detroit, with post season ambitions, went out and got a pitcher they needed, one that fairs well against the division when and if they face a team from the east in October.

For now though, Price, in the few days he has been with the Tigers, is enjoying the adjustment of being with new teammates, and in a new uniform.  It is a part of baseball.

“Go have fun every single day,” said Price. “You lose fun then it becomes a job.”  Well said, because Tuesday night it was a job for Price, but you can tell he was having fun.  It will become more fun, indeed if Price becomes that major cog in a pitching rotation that may be the best three in baseball.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, “Price pounds away.” For the Yankees, who lost a tough one in extra innings, they may have to face Price one more time this season when they visit Detroit for three games later this month.

And that won’t be fun as they are now in a competitive race for that wild card.

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