Going into this series I thought that anything less than a sweep of the Royals would be a disappointment. Never did it cross my mind that the Rays would have to beat Zach Greinke on Sunday to earn a split. But that's exactly what happened.
For the fourth time in his five starts this season, Wade Davis has had to face the opposing team's best pitcher (Ben Sheets doesn't count). So far, he's handled the situation pretty well, all things considered. Coming into today's start Davis had a 3.68 ERA and an xFIP of 4.49. Not bad at all for a pitcher in his first full season. Today he faced the reigning AL Cy Young award winner, Zack Greinke, but he also faced the Royals offense, which helps ease the pain a little bit. I feel bad for Greinke, I really do. He pitched a masterful game, throwing only 84 pitches over eight innings with four hits, zero walks and six strikeouts. Hell, he didn't even have one 3 ball count. His lone mistake was hanging a pitch to Longoria, who deposited it over the left field fence.
Wade Davis kept up with Greinke as best he could, going seven innings while allowing only three hits and striking out five. He was very effective with his fastball and threw it 74 times for 48 strikes. Having a good fastball allowed Davis' slider to be that much more potent, throwing it 13 times and generating 8 strikes, 2 swinging. How many other teams can say they're getting the same production from their number five starter that the Rays are? Of course, getting to face Jason Kendall, Mitch Maier, Yuni Betancourt and Chris Getz would make any pitcher look good.
Other game oberservations/notes:
-Seeing Sean Rodriguez horribly misplay a fly ball in left field realllllllly makes you appreciate Carl Crawford. That's a ball that Crawford would be camped underneath, while Rodriguez seemed to try and throw his glove at the ball at the last minute. If people complain about Bartlett getting a day off, I can't wait to read the reactions of people freaking out because Crawford got a day of rest.
-Evan Longoria is good at baseball. On his current nine game hit streak he's 16-35 with three home runs.
-All in all, going 6-3 on a home stand is something I'll gladly take, even if it probably should have been better. Now the Rays face all three of the West Coast teams on this nine game road trip. Seattle and Oakland don't feature very good offenses, and the Angels are struggling at the moment. I don't expect to go 8-1 or anything of that nature, but 5-4 or 6-3 should be very doable.