August 2, 2014 at 1:00 am

David Price's 12-game stretch better than any recent Tigers' run

Detroit ó He might turn out to be, especially if he keeps pitching the way he has his last 12 starts.

But David Price isnít the instant ace of the Tigers rotation.

That would be unfair to Max Scherzer, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner who has been pitching well, but canít match Priceís 12-start stats.

It would be unfair to any pitcher in the Tigers rotation, for that matter, because 12 starts donít make a complete season.

Every talented starting pitcher has stretches in which they do well. Every starting pitcher has stretches in which they struggle. Itís unfair to draw conclusions if one pitcher happens to be down while the other is up.

But Price arrives as a sizzling pitcher. Since the end of May, heís pitched extremely well, and to this extent, comparisons are fair.

Heís pitched better during that particular period of time than his new colleagues.

Just how hot has Price been? Consider the numbers in his last 12 starts:

■Heís 7-4 with a 2.03 ERA. (Scherzer is 7-2 while Rick Porcello has a 3.46 ERA.)

■His opponentsí batting average is .209. (Anibal Sanchez .239.)

■His opponentsí OPS is .564. (Sanchez .633.)

The bottom line is none of the other four Tigers starters have been as effective as Price during the time heís been at his most effective.

But stats can make anyone look good ó or bad ó although it would be difficult to find a flaw right now with Price.

And while the rest of the rotation looks like it canít compare to him, remember, theyíre being compared to Price at his best.

Whatís impressive about the newcomer, however, is he compares well to the other four not just at his best, but at theirs, as well.

For instance, Scherzer is 5-0 with a 2.08 ERA his last seven starts, a stretch that began after a disastrous outing against the Royals in which he allowed 10 runs.

In his last seven starts, though, Price is 6-1 with a 1.64 ERA.

Sanchez had an outstanding 10-start stretch from April 26-June 30 in which he was 5-0 with a 2.34 ERA.

But Price has had a 10-start stretch when he went 6-3 with a 1.72 ERA.

Not including Fridayís game, Justin Verlander has been significantly better his last seven starts than in his last 12. But even in his last seven, heís 3-2 with a 4.40 ERA, a far cry from the way Price has been pitching.

But even when he won 12 starts in a row from July 21-Sept. 18, 2011, Verlander had a 2.28 ERA, a notch higher than Priceís 2.03 during this stretch.

Priceís OPS against during this stretch is also lower than Verlanderís was (.564-.567), but Verlander had the better opponentsí batting average (.186-.209) when compared to Priceís current stretch.

Like Scherzer, Porcelloís hottest stretch this season is the seven-gamer heís on with a 4-1 record and 1.95 ERA.

Itís been an outstanding stretch of starts for Porcello, but Price currently has it beat.

Thatís not to lessen the way any of the incumbent Tigers starters have been throwing.

But to make sure itís fully understood just how hot, and dominant a pitcher the Tigers have acquired.

That said, it would still be unfair to call Price the new Tigers ace because with three Cy Young starters, it can be argued they have a rotation of aces.

But heís certainly the Tigers pitcher who has pitched the best, and most consistently, the last two months.

Arms race

A look at the Tigers starters over their last 12 starts:

Pitcher W-L ERA BA OPS
David Price 7-4 2.03 .209 .564
Rick Porcello 5-4 3.46 .255 .704
Max Scherzer 7-2 3.83 .251 .691
Anibal Sanchez 5-3 3.91 .239 .633
Justin Verlander 4-6 5.87 .285 .826

tom.gage@detroitnews.com

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Pitcher David Price is 7-4 in his last 12 starts. / Chris O'Meara / Associated Press