On a day he lost Game 1 of the American League Division Series to Texas, 5-1, Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price won the Warren Spahn Award as the top left-handed pitcher in the major leagues.
Price trailed Boston’s Jon Lester until the final week of the season in the award’s point system, which evaluates pitchers based on wins, strikeouts and ERA.
But Lester, a former Bellarmine Prep standout, gave up eight runs in his final start of the season against the Chicago White Sox, failing in his bid to become the first Red Sox left-hander in 57 years to win 20 games.
That allowed Price to move ahead. The American League starter in this year’s All-Star Game finished 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA and 188 strikeouts.
Price has been invited to accept the award at a gala in Oklahoma City in January.
CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees won it the previous two years.
ONE HOT TICKET
Postseason interest is highest in Cincinnati, based on ticket resale prices.
The average asking price for Reds tickets for home games in the first round of the playoffs is $276, fansnap..com said Tuesday. Cincinnati is making its first postseason appearance in 15 years.
The San Francisco Giants are next at $220, followed by the Minnesota Twins at $218, the Philadelphia Phillies at $202, the Texas Rangers at $168, the New York Yankees at $141, the Atlanta Braves at $90 and the Tampa Bay Rays at $77.
CARDS LOCK UP PUJOLS
The St. Louis Cardinals exercised a $16 million club option for 2011 with three-time National League MVP Albert Pujols.
The Cardinals also announced that left-handed reliever Trever Miller had met a vesting option at $2 million for next season.
Pujols, 30, led the NL with 42 home runs, won his first league RBI title with 118 and tied Matt Holliday for the team batting lead at .312.
Pujols topped 400 homers this season and set a franchise record with his 39th career multihomer game.
The Cardinals were expected all along to pick up the option on Pujols’ contract. The team has said there’s no specific timetable for beginning negotiations on a new long-term deal with Pujols, who can be a free agent after next season.
The Texas Rangers designated pitcher Rich Harden for assignment – a move announced after the Rangers beat Tampa Bay, 5-1, in Game 1 of the ALDS.
Harden was left off the postseason roster after going 5-5 with a 5.58 ERA in 20 games, including 18 starts, this season. The right-hander, who began the season as the Rangers’ No. 2 starter, struggled with his control, walking 62 in 92 innings.
TWINS GO WITH BAKER
The Twins chose right-hander Scott Baker over Kevin Slowey for the final spot in the bullpen for the ALDS against the New York Yankees. Baker went 12-9 with a 4.49 ERA in 29 starts this season. Slowey lasted just 22/3 innings in his final two outings of the year.