by Neil Morris
DBAP / DURHAM—An announced crowd of more than 9,000—including my 6-year-old son and I—ventured to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park to enjoy some lovely weather and the final kid-friendly 5:05 p.m. start time for a Saturday evening Bulls' home game this season. The atmosphere was wonderful, especially with second-row seats along the first base line, and once my son finally got the cotton candy he was craving even before the game started.
Far less pleasant was watching the Columbus Clippers hang double-digit runs against the Bulls pitching staff for the second consecutive game, following up Friday night's 14-1 shellacking with a 10-6 win over Durham. Even more significant is that much of tonight's offensive outburst came against David Price, who was making his fifth start of the season. Upon passing his 75-pitch limit, Price was lifted after 3.2 innings, but not before yielding six runs off four hits and three walks (and only one strikeout). Admittedly, only two of those runs were earned—the Bulls committed two errors in the first inning and Price's final two runs were the base runners who scored off a double allowed by Julio DePaula, who relieved Price.
Price suffered the loss despite two rally runs the Bulls tacked on in the ninth inning. This follows Price's last start, a three-run, four-hit loss to Norfolk on April 26. For the season, Price is now 1-3 with a 3.92 ERA. Even more troublesome is that he has allowed a total of 14 runs, 18 hits and 11 walks in only 20.2 innings pitched. I will leave to our Bulls' beat writers to pontificate on the potential reasons behind Price's early sophomore slump. But, whether judging by statistics or observing Columbus' batters teeing off on him, something about Price isn't quite right.
Now, where can I get another $5 funnel cake?