In life, you're always striving for consistency. I think the word "consistency" perfectly applies to what I'm striving for as a pitcher.
In three of my last four starts, I've had the type of success I'm looking for. In those starts, I've limited the opposition by doing a number of things successfully, and I'm hoping to keep doing those things on a consistent basis in the final weeks of the season.
For one, I've been throwing a lot of first-pitch strikes lately. Strike one is the most important pitch. When you have hitters in a hole, their approach changes. Often, that leads them to being off balance, to taking defensive swings. And when they're taking defensive swings, they aren't apt to hurt you as much or as often.
Getting ahead in the count nearly always works to the advantage of a pitcher. It gives you more options, and it makes the hitter think a little bit more about those options. But, to get ahead in the count, you first need to get your command and location where you want them to be.
When I've struggled, it's generally been because of a lack of consistency. You can be at the top of your game one moment, and you can get hurt early and often the next.
Something else that goes along with consistency is having success at home and on the road. For whatever reason, I've pitched well at Tropicana Field this season, but I've hit some tough stretches on the road. I haven't been able to really put my finger on why that's been the case.
It's also important for me to put the highs and lows of baseball in perspective. I got a reminder the very day after I signed my first contract with Tampa that nothing here is promised. That was a day my best friend suddenly died. I take his memory to the mound each and every time I pitch. His memory is with me at all times, and I know he's always there for me.
David Price made national headlines last October as a late season call-up who helped the Rays reach the World Series. The 23-year old former No. 1 overall selection started this season at Triple-A Durham, and, since his recall in late May, has gone 6-5 in 15 starts.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.