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Blue Jays ace David Price confident he can step up against Kansas City Royals

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher David Price talks during a news conference before Game 1 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the Kansas City Royals on Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
October 16, 2015 - 3:23 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Good things are coming, says David Price.

The Toronto Blue Jays ace returns to the mound as a starter Saturday when he faces Dominican right-hander Yordano Ventura in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series against the Kansas City Royals.

It's been an uneven post-season so far for Price, who has lost as a starter and won as a reliever.

Price lost Game 1 of the AL Division Series — his sixth straight post-season loss as a starter — but came back to win Game 4 on Monday in relief of R.A. Dickey. In three innings, Price gave up three runs on six hits in what might be charitably called a bend-but-don't-break outing against Texas.

The six-foot-six left-hander has a career record of 104-56 with a 3.09 earned-run average in the regular season. He is 2-6 with a 5.04 ERA all-time in the playoffs.

Despite that statistical chasm, Price said he feels no extra pressure ahead of Saturday's start at Kauffman Stadium.

"No, I know it's going to come," he said. "I mean I have a 100 per cent confidence in myself. I know my teammates do as well, and our coaching staff. This is part of it. You've got to be able to live in the moment. I want to be able to step up for my teammates and this organization and all our fans in Canada.

"But good things are coming, I know they are. I've got confidence in that."

Price said virtually the same thing in the aftermath of Toronto's series-clinching win over Texas on Wednesday.

With Aaron Loup unavailable in Game 4, Toronto manager John Gibbons opted to use Price as his left-hander out of the bullpen. That meant he could not pitch in the Game 5 decider, with Marcus Stroman getting the start.

Gibbons says he has no concerns about Price.

"He's feeling good. Shoot, he's had another tremendous year," he said. "I don't worry about him at all. I know he's had his struggles in the post-season a little bit but you know what, to accomplish what he does every year, you're good. You're really good."

"I think what happens to those guys, your workhorses, they get to the end of the year, they're gassed. They throw a lot of innings .... So that takes its toll on them a little bit. But he'll get it up for the next few games. Hopefully he pitches a few of them."

Playing for the Tigers, Price started twice against the Royals in May with different results. He won the first, scattering five hits in a complete-game outing. In the second start, he allowed a career-high 13 hits in a no-decision.

Price, who relaxed Thursday night by watching "Pixels," said the Royals can turn an inch into a mile.

"They do a great job of putting the ball in play," he said. "They have a lot of team speed. They can cause a lot of trouble for pitcher, whenever they have runners on base. You don't want to allow the Royals to get free 90 feet. Whether it's at first base and they steal second, then they're a single away from scoring, or stealing third base where they can produce runs with outs.

"I feel like they do a really good job of putting themselves in scoring position and allowing them to kind of push runs across home plate with outs. And that's something you definitely want to stay away from. Just get that leadoff guy out. If you can do that, you can kind of manage that running game a little bit better and just take it pitch by pitch."

Price, who is on the last year of his contract, finished the season with an 18-5 record and 2.45 ERA. He went 9-1 with the Jays.


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News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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