The Devil Rays were off on Monday, so instead of the usual Cheese & Whine (sorry we missed the Sunday game- suspensions have been handed down) we'll just do a mini series-preview:
TAMPA BAY V. KANSAS CITY
Tonight (first pitch 7:08)
Tropicana Field, St Pete, FL
Kyle Davies, RHP (2-4, 5.09) vs. Andy Sonnanstine, RHP (3-5, 7.66)
Davies is coming off a game in which he gave up 8 earned runs in just over 5 innings, and is looking to rebound with a more solid performance. Apparently, Davies has been pitching better than his numbers indicate, so we'll see how it all pans out tonight.
Sonny is also coming off a poor showing (surprise) in Cleveland last week where he also allowed 8 earned runs in just 3 innings of work, including a homer by his arch-nemesis Ben Fransisco, who's lifetime stats against Sonny are of epic, video-game proportions (8 for 9, 5 HRs, 12 RBI).
June 3 (first pitch 7:08)
Tropicana Field, St. Pete, FL
TBD v. Jeff Niemann, RHP (4-4, 4.44) (beautiful symmetry- lots of 4's)
The Royals starter for game 2 has been shrouded in secrecy, and has caused quite a stir throughout the baseball community. Who could it be? A long lost player back from retirement? A red-hot prospect getting the cal-up all the way from single-A? The world wants...no needs to know!
Just kidding, by this time tomorrow we'll know who will be on the mound to strike out Melvin Upton to start-off the bottom of the 1st.
Niemann has been showing signs of really being able to put it together, and it would be nice to see him make it past the 6th inning here. His last outing was cut short by Lake Erie acid rain in Cleveland (ahhh, the many days I spent frolicking in that toxic Lake Erie rain! The memories... aren't there because the mercury in the water has burned them out of my brain).
(FYI: I was born and raised on the shores of Lake Erie, in Erie, Pa.)
June 4 (first pitch 4:08)
Tropicana Field, St Pete, FL
Gil Meche, RHP (2-5, 4.33) v. James Shields, RHP (4-4, 3.53)
Meche apparently spent a good portion of May fighting back issues so his numbers may be a bit misleading. Meche has been the Royals' go-to guy for the last several years, and for them to continue to compete they'll need more consistency out of ol' Gil... hopefully that doesn't start during game 3 of this series.
Shields has looked decent for most of the season, but finally put together a truly Shields-esque performance last week vs the Twins allowing just 2 runs on 7 hits through 7 innings and recording the W. So far this season Shields has been the one unlucky starter that hasn't gotten any run support (this is where a good writer would back that up with statistical evidence, but alas I am not one of those), so hopefully on Thursday Shieldsy will finally get a little help from his friends.
How I see it:
I see the Rays being able to pull-off at least 2 out of 3 and wouldn't be surprised (although I'd be ecstatic) if they were able to record their first series sweep of the season. The biggest wildcard being (of course) Sonnanstine, but I've not lost all faith in Sonny quite yet, so we shall see.
Niemann, Shields, and Garza are all 4-4 at the time of this post. Peculiar considering all the positive attention Garza has garnered (and rightfully so) and all the negative attention Niemann has received (not quite as justified).