The Kansas City Royals will look to win their four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday at Tropicana Field.
Wade Davis will take the mound for the Royals. Davis, who came over with James Shields from Tampa Bay in the off-season, has an ugly 5.37 ERA, but there are signs that right-handed might be making some progress. Davis has increased his K% to 19.9%, just above league-average. His xFIP currently sits at 3.93 and his SIERRA is 4.16; not world-beating numbers, but still useful for a back-of-the-rotation pitcher.
Davis owns a .392 BABIP, which actually looked worse a few weeks ago and is slowly regressing towards a more normal number. His BABIP and 15.4% HR/FB suggest that Davis is surrendering a lot of hard contact, but his peripheral statistics suggest he's going to improve in the run prevention department moving forward.
Ned Yost is employing a fairly standard lineup. Lorenzo Cain has the day off, so David Lough will start in centerfield and Jeff Francoeur will start in right. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star brings us the lineup:
#Royals vs. TB RHP Hernandez: Gordon 7, Hosmer 3, Perez 2, Butler DH, Lough 8, Moustakas 5, Johnson 4, Francoeur 9, Escobar 6 and Davis 1.— Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) June 16, 2013
Roberto Hernandez will start for the Rays. Hernandez also sports a less-than impressive 4.91 ERA, but his 3.44 xFIP and 3.46 SIERA suggest the right-hander will prevent more runs in the future. Hernandez owns an above-average K%, a below-average BB% and a 51.2% GB%, which seems like a recipe for success.
The starter, however, struggles with runners on base; he owns a career 68% LOB% in 1018 2/3 innings and has a 68.2% LOB% this season. Hernandez also owns a 20% HR/FB% this season, which is higher than his career average. Hernandez will likely underperform his ERA estimator unless he fixes his issues with men on base, but he still has use in the back of the Rays rotation.
Tampa Bay's lineup looks similar to the lineup they used on Saturday, except Jose Molina will start at catcher. Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times brings us the Rays starting lineup.
#rays lineup: Joyce rf, Zobrist 2b, Scott lf, longoria DH, loney 1b, Jennings cf, Johnson 3b, Molina c, Escobar ss, Hernandez RHP— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) June 16, 2013
Happy Father's Day to all the fathers and grandfathers in our midst.
Song of the Day: Alice in Chains - Stone
"Stone" is not vintage AIC, but I think it's still a pretty solid song. I'm just happy these guys still make music and tour, even if two of the original members have passed.