7/26/2013 6:47 P.M. ET
Rays starters becoming pros at 'The Jump'
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- "The Jump" is all the rage with the Rays starting pitchers these days.
"The Jump" occurs after one of the team's starters throws a complete game. Upon the completion of that game, the starters congregate in front of the mound with a group leap and bump of their bodies.
"We want to do that starter's jump, every game," David Price said. "It's something that we enjoy. It's extremely tough to go out there and throw nine innings at this level, or at any level. It's tough in college.
"We take pride in that. Every one of our starters take pride in taking that ball every fifth day and going out there and going as deep as possible in the game. Our mindset is to go nine, and when we're able to do that and get a win, we like jumping."
Price allowed that some of the jumps have been a little inconsistent where timing is concerned, but he noted "it's getting better."
"And it will get better with the more practice we get," Price said. "So hopefully we'll have a couple of more this year. You know, everybody's kind of getting used to it."
Rays starters had thrown five complete games in their last 14 outings before Friday' series opener at Yankee Stadium. Prior to that, the Rays had no compete games in their first 88 games of the season.
"I feel like we're jumping every other game," Jeremy Hellickson said. "We should be in top form right now. I'm the one in the middle of it."
The five complete games in the month of July tied the club record for a single month (June 2002) and are the most by any team in any month since the Mets (five) in August 2010.
Each of the pitchers displays a different personality and degree of athleticism in the way they execute the jump.
Chris Archer "wants to jump over everybody," Price said. "[After Matt Moore's complete game Monday night] I think he ran like a 4-second 40 to the mound. And me and Helly were like, 'Arch, slow it down.' Cause we were going to pull a hammy keeping up with Arch. The more practice we get with it, the better we'll all be."
Price said all of the pitchers have to make sure they don't roll an ankle or step on any feet.
"Because the only person that's going to be jumping that has cleats on is the starting pitcher," Price said. "So we have to make sure that we don't have any more [Alex] Cobb occurrences."
Price referenced a jump that occurred that saw a some major mistiming between Moore and Cobb.
"Matt Moore jumped way too late when Cobb's coming down and Moore's going up," Price said. "And they go chest to chest and Cobb winds up on his back with his legs over his head. So we want to make sure that doesn't happen anymore. Because Cobb was a little bit butt hurt about that."
Price was asked if veteran Roberto Hernandez, age 32, needs a little head start when compared to Archer.
"We already talked about it," Price said. "When Roberto throws his first one with us, we're going to kind of just go up on our tippy-toes and not jump. Just want to make sure everything is OK."
Price will face Boston again on Monday
NEW YORK -- David Price will start Monday's game in Boston, which is the makeup game from Thursday's postponement due to rain. The move pushes Roberto Hernandez back a day, which means Hernandez will start the first game of the homestand Tuesday against the Diamondbacks.
"It is an obvious decision, it's just the way it worked out," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "The rainout ... just allows [Price] to pitch another game up there. He did pretty good the last time out. Hopefully he's going to be able to maintain that kind of success that he's had at that ballpark. So it's just one of those coincidences, and hopefully it works to our favor."
There was no reason for the Rays not to make the move after the way Price carved up the Red Sox in a complete-game performance Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
"We've seen him good," Maddon said. "We've never seen him this good."
Price called the situation "kind of unique."
"You don't do it a whole lot in the same ballpark," Price said. "I feel like I had two back-to-back starts against the same team last year in Baltimore then at home against Baltimore, against Miguel Gonzalez both times. But doing it at the same park twice in six days, you don't do it a whole lot."
Since coming off the disabled list on July 2, Price has been a strike-throwing machine, tossing three complete games on less than 100 pitches in a span of four starts.
"If we didn't have this makeup game, then I would have been throwing on Tuesday and I would have had an extra day of rest," Price said. "That would have been an extra 24 hours. We're all throwing the ball extremely well right now, so we want to stay on the normal days' rest and take the ball every fifth day."
Price wouldn't concede that he has any kind of advantage against the Red Sox, even if he did have a dominant performance Wednesday night.
"Still [have to] make pitches," Price said. "Like I said before, [the Red Sox have] the toughest lineup. I feel like they have the best approach. I'm going to have to be a little different, because I'm still going to be extremely fresh on their minds, what happened two days ago.
"And they're going to remember the way that I got them out. And they're going to remember the balls that they hit hard, pitches I threw in certain counts, stuff like that. I'll just have to kind of watch what I did then and keep that in the back of my mind and use it however I need to."
Maddon not worried about relievers getting rusty
NEW YORK -- There could be a possible detrimental offshoot to the Rays' starting pitchers pitching so many innings lately: bullpen rust.
Rays manager Joe Maddon was asked about the possibility of seeing the performance of the bullpen suffer in the Yankees series due to their recent lack of use.
"Bullpen guys, a lot of times, are still able to throw a lot of strikes without a lot of work," said Maddon, noting that closer Fernando Rodney might be a candidate to pitch in a non-save situation just to get some work in. "[Joel Peralta] is already barking at me right now. He wants out there. Jake [McGee] is the one guy I think that kind of resembles [former Rays closer Troy Percival], in that he doesn't need to throw to throw a strike. Alex [Torres] is fine. I think the two guys I need to keep a close eye on so no rust builds up on them are Fernando and Joel."
Maddon noted about Peralta: "He's pitched twice out of the last 10 days, or something. It's kind of like the offseason for him."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.