Before the Derek Holland Experience began on Monday afternoon, a quick glimpse out to the Toronto bullpen confirmed what lots of people were already beginning to assume regarding the prized trade deadline acquisition of the Blue Jays, ace pitcher David Price.
Price was warming up in the bullpen, after doing the same on Sunday night, and that pretty much spelled the end to any thought of him starting a possible winner-take-all Game 5 back in Toronto on Wednesday.
Well, now that possible Game 5 is happening, and Price is definitely not starting.
That honor will go to the Blue Jays' Game 2 starter, Marcus Stroman, who struggled early against Texas only to settle in and work into the eighth inning before the Rangers eventually rallied, forced extra innings and then won the game in the 14th.
Stroman's line was seven innings, five hits, four runs (three earned), five strikeouts and two walks, compared to Price's line in Game 1 of seven innings, five hits, five runs (all earned), five strikeouts and two walks — exactly identical other than the most important part, the runs.
It's an odd decision to see a pitcher lifted 4 2/3 innings into a game with a six-run lead, but that's exactly what happened to Monday's starter R.A. Dickey, as he was replaced by Price just one out shy of qualifying for a win in his first career postseason start as a 40-something.
Price wasn't particularly good on Monday either, as he went three innings of relief, allowing three earned runs on six hits. It's now pretty obvious the Rangers have Price's number, especially in the postseason, and it appears Jays skipper John Gibbons fully acknowledges that. In fact, Gibbons went as far on Monday evening to tell the media Price would be unavailable to pitch in Wednesday's Game 5, a claim Price disputed.
Whatever the case, it's clear the Blue Jays don't have confidence in Price against the Rangers, and that's good because it means the Rangers will avoid their best pitcher, but it's also a bad thing because Stroman looked pretty dominant in his own right after the Rangers let him off the hook early on Friday before he settled in.