Well, the Toronto Blue Jays find themselves with their backs against the wall. After two months of domination, we are not used to this feeling. Heading into the ALDS, we would have called them the favorites. Now, they need to rely on Marco Estrada to save them in game 3. Let’s put all of our uneasiness aside and say they win this game. Would they consider starting David Price on short rest in game 4?
Price was brought in for the big games. He was rented to provide an ace. And, an ace is a guy who can stop streaks, start new ones, right the ship, etc etc. Game 4 just might be one of those times when you need an ace most. A win and the series is tied heading back to Toronto. A loss and the Blue Jays’ postseason is over. Again, all of this hinges on Estrada leading the boys to a victory on Sunday. But, Game 4 will be critical.
Price would be pitching on three days rest. Game 1 on Thursday seems further back than it was. Is a weekend off enough for the lefty? A quick look at BaseballReference.com tells us that Price has only started on this kind of short rest once in his career. It was back in 2008. He went 5.1 IP, gave up a lone earned run, struck out 3 and walked 3. So, there isn’t a whole lot of history on his side to suggest that he’d perform well in this situation.
We should also consider how much rest he had before game 1. He was working on 11 days rest. The results were less than ideal, to say the least. But, can we say that he might be rested enough to test the three days off? Whether he is or not, the Blue Jays might look at it this way: ‘Price is our best pitcher. We gave up some pretty decent prospects for this guy. If we’re going to be eliminated, this is our last chance to get another start out of him.’
The cost of bringing in Price for these kinds of situations was pretty steep. And, there will likely be at least 20 other teams who come calling once the free agency period hits. Math is not exactly on the Blue Jays’ side. While there is no point in speculating over whether he’ll return to Toronto right now, the club could very well be looking at getting just one more start out of him. Every start he makes for the club could be his last at this point.
But, do you risk it on short rest? You almost have to, don’t you? One could make the argument that Marcus Stroman is a good choice too. But, he’d be going on 2 days rest. And, the club has more invested in his future. That is not to say they don’t care about Price’s future. It just means that the need to ‘get the most out of your investment’ is not there with Stroman. But, some might say that Price isn’t the option given his post season numbers, which have become a talking point. He’s 1-6 with a 4.79 ERA.
Toronto Blue Jays
In 6 games against the Rangers in Arlington, Price has given up a .296 average, and put up nearly 3 strike outs per walk. In those 6 games, he’s given up 23 runs. It hasn’t exactly been pretty. But, the Blue Jays don’t need pretty. They need their best pitcher on the mound. They need to pull out all the stops to stay alive in this postseason. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Could the Blue Jays take a page out of the Arizona Diamondbacks book and ride their top pitchers all the way to glory? Remember in 2001 when Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling carried their team to the World Series?
The Blue Jays just might need to put all of their hopes on David Price and Marcus Stroman. Starting Price on Monday just might give the Blue Jays the chance to win and head home with the series turned into a one game playoff. In that case, Stroman could pitch Wednesday on his fifth day. It would set the club up rather nicely. And, with their season hanging in the balance, they just might need to do it. R.A. Dickey is available. But, would we rather see him go or our best pitchers? That is not a knock against Dickey. Ideally, the Blue Jays would be up 2 games and there would be no pressure to alter the starters.
But, this is not an ideal situation. It all hinges on Marco Estrada continuing his 2015 magic, the bats figuring out how to hit in the playoffs and the club winning game 3. If they can’t do that, the season is over and this discussion is moot. But, a win in game 3 just might mean that we get to see David Price start one more time in a Blue Jays uniform.