Despite putting out punch-less lineups the last few days -- notably featuring Felipe Lopez hitting cleanup -- the Rays have taken the first two games of this four-game series from the White Sox. The Rays won Tuesday night behind one of James Shields' best pitching performances of his career, and they send Wade Davis to the mound tonight to try and keep the winning streak going.
Wade Davis has started off the season strong for the Rays, posting a 3.26 ERA / 3.32 FIP during his first three starts. However, while his results have been mostly good, his strikeout rate is much lower than last season (3.7 K/9) and he's only generating whiffs on about 4% of his pitches (which is extremely low). Davis has traded in some velocity this season for better pitch location, but it seems as though this decreased velocity is hurting his overall ability to get strikeouts. His improved results simply aren't sustainable with such a low strikeout rate, so he'll need to find some sort of middle ground if he wants to keep performing well going forward.
Philip Humber (3.46 ERA, 2.98 FIP) takes the hill for the White Sox for his second start of the season against the Rays. In his previous start, he shut down a slumbering Rays offense very effectively, going 6 innings while only allowing 4 hits and 1 run. Even with the Rays' weakened lineup, they should be able to do better against Humber this time around; Humber has been a minor league pitcher for most of his career, and his 4.37 FIP in Triple-A last year doesn't suggest that he should continue to succeed in the majors.
Gametime tonight is 6:40 PM.
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