Blue Jays David Price vs AL East

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When the Toronto Blue Jays traded for Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, they told the world that they were no longer going to wait to “go for it”. They must feel their time is now. It is an exciting time. Blue Jays fans now have one of the best position players in baseball for the next 5 years and one of the best starting pitchers for the next  months. Apparently, their chances just got a lot better. This two month period is what might be the most exciting. Renting David Price means this club believes it can compete. It will be a lot of fun to watch how this will play out. If they do not win, it won’t be for lack of trying.

Also from Jays Journal: Blue Jays do the Unthinkable With Price Deal!

But, if they do come close to winning, they are going to face a very tough schedule ahead. As I wrote previously, a rather large proportion of September games will be against American League East opponents. In total, the Blue Jays will play 23 games against their division rivals, including 12 straight to end the season. This is an obscene amount of games. And, up until a week ago, it looked less optimistic than it does right now. At the time of writing, the Blue Jays sit 2 games out of the Wild Card spot and 6 out of the division leading Yankees.

Now, every team wants to make the playoffs. The Blue Jays have a realistic shot of not just “making it”, but contending for that division lead. That should be the goal. And, it is a realistic one. That is why the acquisition of David Price is even more important. Not only does it keep Price out of the hands of the Yankees or any other divisional rival. But, it gives them a huge boost in these inter division matchups. How much, though? Let’s take a look at Price’s numbers against the AL East.

[table id=104 /]

These career numbers are reflective of a large number of starts made over his career. We all know of his early years as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. We remember the success he’s had against the Blue Jays (16-2, 2.41 ERA, 1.064 WHIP, .226 BAA). So, it is good that he’s on our side for this playoff run. It could be argued that he has had the least amount of success over his career against the New York Yankees who the Blue Jays are chasing and have many games left to play. While the career numbers are good to look at, they span a period of nearly 7 season. These teams have gone through many changes since then.

So what about this season? It isn’t such a shiny story:

[table id=105 /]

Obviously, the “Small Sample Size” caveat should be applied, here. Can a pitcher really be judged on 3 starts? No. But, it is rather interesting to note the very rough outing he had against the Yankees this year where he lasted just 2.1 innings. That kind of start is an anomaly in the resume that Price brings to the table. Even with that rough outing, the Blue Jays (and their fans) should proceed with all the confidence in the world that Price is the guy they want in these important games down the stretch. With this offense, can you imagine what is possible.

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

To add to this discussion, I thought it would be interesting to see how David Price has performed against the Kansas City Royals. You know, just in case. For his career, he is 2-0, 1.93 ERA, 0.884 WHIP, .214 BAA. This season (2 starts), with such a good Royals team, he has had good success: 1-0, 2.93 ERA, 1.174 WHIP, .286 BAA.

David Price is the kind of pitcher you want on the mound for you in those big games. He certainly is now the Blue Jays’ bets option. And, it would appear that there will be lots of those big games coming up. In fact, every game is important when you’re trying to win a division title. This might prove to be more true for the Blue Jays as they are hunting down their first playoff taste in 22 years. In order to break the longest current playoff drought in MLB, they will need to win games during a schedule that remains very AL East heavy.

Price has had success within this division his whole career. It is where he made his name. Whether the Blue Jays are able to sign him long term is an issue for another post. Right now, they have to focus on competing for the AL East title. That should be their goal. The Wild Card spot would be nice, but winning the division is a real possibility. Having an ace helps. The Blue Jays are in a better position than they were last week. They’ve got an uphill battle in front of them that includes almost a whole month of games against their rivals. It is not guaranteed, but it looks better by the day.

Next: Blue Jays Draft Strategy Made Price Deal Possible

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