09/29/12 4:02 PM ET
Zobrist executes plan, turns season around
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
More than any player on the Rays, Zobrist has come on strong after a tough start this season.
He hit .205 in April and .202 in May before finally breaking loose in June with a .344 month. He dipped to .237 in July, but he hit .330 in August and is hitting .297 in September.
"At the beginning of June, I was hitting under .200," Zobrist said. "Since then, things have certainly changed a lot. Turned around big time. It's been a lot better since then. A lot more of a blessed season."
Finding a way to find himself while struggling is something that might bode well for Zobrist in future seasons.
"I think I learned more about my swing this year and what works and what doesn't work," Zobrist said. "You're always going to have those those slumps. And that was one of the things [hitting coach Derek Shelton] talked to me about in June: Let's do the same things every day instead of switching up, because I was trying to find it, you know. Once I did find it, my routine has been very consistent."
Speaking of Shelton, he has taken a lot of the blame for the team's poor offense this season. Based on his experience working with Shelton, Zobrist doesn't believe the coach deserves the criticism.
"He's been great," Zobrist said. "He's as prepared as anybody on the whole team. I think as far as knowing the pitchers and what they're trying to do ... as when I say, 'What do you think about this plan that I'm thinking about taking up to the plate?' And he'll be like, 'That makes sense. Just remember this.' He's always thinking a step ahead."
Zobrist said he can't imagine a hitting coach having "any more information or a better of an idea than he has."
"It's up to us to put that plan into action and make it happen," Zobrist said. "When we struggle, it's never his fault. I think he's done a fantastic job, and you can't ask him to do any more than he has done."
Price offers take on what 20 wins would mean
CHICAGO -- David Price leads the Major Leagues with a 2.56 ERA, and on Sunday, he'll start for the Rays with a chance to earn his career-high 20th win of the season.
"It's tough to [win 20 games]," Price said. "You get like 33 starts, so you have to go out there and win 67 percent of your starts at the Major League level.
"You can't have that three-, four-, five-game stretch where you're not winning. You can't go a month or a half a month without winning. You have to continue to get some wins. You have to have a streak of probably six or seven wins. It's not easy to get there."
Price, who also won 19 games in 2010, noted that many factors go into winning 20.
"There's a lot of games this year where I felt like I could have won," Price said. "I sometimes feel like I should have won, and other times I feel like I shouldn't have won and I did win."
Price offered his opinion about what it means to a pitcher to be able to say that he won 20 games at some point during his Major League career.
"First and foremost, it's a team thing," Price said. "I feel like every time I've pitched, we've been Silver Sluggers and Gold Gloves at every position. It's been one of those things where on my day, we play extremely well. And I've benefited from it. It's pretty special and I'd like to get to that mark. Not a whole lot of guys get to get to that mark. I think it would be good for me and good for the organization."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.