Without the injured Mike Trout at the top of the lineup, the Angels got nothing going offensively Sunday and took a 2-0 loss to the Rays in Zack Greinke’s debut.
Greinke, who was acquired from the Brewers on Friday, was strong in striking out eight over seven innings, but Jeremy Hellickson was better, blanking the Angels on two hits over six innings. Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney — the last two former Angels — finished the Rays’ second shutout in two days.
The loss was Greinke’s first in a home start since July 31, 2010, when he was still a member of the Royals. He went 15-0 during his 23 starts at Miller Park as a member of the Brewers.
Greinke allowed both Rays runs after pitching scoreless ball for five innings. The Rays led off the sixth and seventh innings with doubles and scored one run each time. The second run came on a wild pitch.
Greinke has now gone six straight starts without a win. He’ll miss the four-game showdown in Texas this week and make his next start against the White Sox on Friday. That could work out for him; he had his best start of the year against the White Sox in interleague play, pitching nine scoreless innings back on June 22.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.