Blue Jays’ David Price hopes to keep Royals’ speed in check

Blue Jays pitcher David Price grinned as the question was posed.

Ahead of his start Saturday in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, Price was asked about his two starts against the Royals this season.

Both came while he was with the Tigers. But there weren’t many other similarities.

On May 2 at Kauffman Stadium, Price allowed one run on five hits in a complete-game victory as the Tigers beat the Royals 2-1. Six days later in Detroit, the Royals pounded out 13 hits and Price went just 6  1/3 innings. Price didn’t get a decision as the Tigers rallied for a 6-5 win, but he allowed five runs (four earned) and struck out just one.

“They do a great job of putting the ball in play,” Price said Friday at Kauffman Stadium. “They have a lot of team speed. They can cause a lot of trouble for pitchers, whenever they have runners on base. You don’t want to allow the Royals to get (a) free 90 feet. Whether it’s at first base and they steal second, or they’re a single away from scoring, or stealing third base, where they can produce runs with outs.

“They do a really good job of putting themselves in scoring position and allowing them to kind of push runs across home plate with outs. That’s something you definitely want to stay away from. Just get that leadoff guy out.”

Price is in the running to win a second Cy Young Award this year after finishing with an 18-5 record, a league-best 2.45 ERA and 225 strikeouts. After a trade from Detroit to Toronto in late July, Price went 9-1 with a 2.30 ERA.

However, he lost his only start of the American League Division Series against Texas as the Rangers scored five runs on seven hits in seven innings of a 5-3 victory in Game 1. That dropped him to 0-6 in career postseason starts.

Price was used in relief in Game 4 and gave up three runs in three innings. It was his first relief appearance since 2010, when he was with the Rays.

Price brushed off concerns that making a relief appearance might disrupt his routine.

“I’ve still got my work in, whether it was in the bullpen,” Price said. “I threw a lot of bullpen yesterday. It doesn’t change. Like I said before, the dimensions that I’m throwing are still 60 feet 6 inches. That stuff doesn’t change. At this point in the season, you know where home plate is. You have a good feel for what you’re trying to do out there.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff