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Series Preview #14: Diamondbacks vs. Royals

Zach Greinke and the Royals come to Chase Field for a quick, two game series to start the week.

Zach Greinke throws a pitch in a Royals home uniform. Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The Diamondbacks just finished up winning a four game set against the Cubs in Wrigley this past weekend. They dropped the final game in the late innings, but not before overcoming a three run deficit and then taking a 1 run lead. Another rough bullpen performance watched that lead evaporate, though, and the Cubs salvaged the final game of the series.

On the other side of the Diamondback, the Royals were just swept by the Twins, giving up at least six runs in all three games. Those runs were a combination of the starters as well as the bullpen, a good mix of struggles all around. It’s not an isolated stretch, either, with Kansas City being 14-26 on the season and 10.5 games behind the Twins in the standings.

Game 1 - 5/23, 6:40PM: Zack Greinke (0-2, 1.20 WHIP, 112 ERA+) vs Zach Davies (2-2, 1.24 WHIP, 92 ERA+)

There are three things in life that are certain: Death, Taxes, and Zack Greinke being an above average pitcher. He is far removed from his days as a Cy Young contender, but he still keeps going out there and getting the job done every five days. He is mortal, though, and two starts ago got lit up in Colorado to the tune of seven runs in four and two thirds innings. He bounced back the next start, though, only allowing the White Sox 2 runs in five and two thirds innings. Expect him to throw five to six solid innings in this start, as well as until the sun expands and swallows the Earth.

Zach Davies had a rough outing last week, and one does have to wonder if it has anything to do with the pitcher we all knew he was going to be coming to the forefront, or if it had to do with some incredibly personal issues being aired out on Instagram. Either way, so far this season he’s been decent, but not great, relative to what one would want and expect from a number four starter. Advantage Royals in this matchup.

Game 2 - 5/24, 6:40PM: Jonathan Heasley (0-2, 1.80 WHIP, 94 ERA+) vs Zac Gallen (3-0, 0.71 WHIP, 350 ERA+ [Still not a typo!])

Heasley was just called up for the Royals and he’ll be making his third start of the season when he faces the Diamondbacks. In those two starts, he’s given up one run in three and a third innings, and three runs in five innings, but got tagged with the loss in both of them. This is after a September call up last season where he got three starts, gave up four runs in two of them and zero runs in the remaining start.

I feel like if Zac Gallen was on another team, we’d be seeing a steady stream of articles talking about how he is an early front runner for the Cy Young award, but so far, I haven’t seen much. He’s only given up more than one run in a single start this season, and while he did give up three walks in five innings last start, and got gassed after just five innings, I have zero concern about him at this point. His FIP is about a run and a half higher than his ERA, so he is probably due for a bit of regression, but even if he ends up with a 2.50 ERA for the season, I don’t think anyone is going to be upset and maybe, just maybe, he’ll be able to over come playing on a middle of the pack team and get some Cy Young votes. Advantage Diamondbacks for sure.

Conlcusion:

I think in the end, this is going to come down to which bullpen can hold it together. Neither the Diamondbacks or the Royals have had great success in the later innings of the game recently, and all four starters should put up at least decent starts. It will be what happens in the sixth inning and later that decides this series. My gut tells me that it ends up as a split.