No closer, no problem: Royals' pen nasty as ever
ANAHEIM -- Even when the Royals' bullpen doesn't have its closer, it remains a deadly weapon. That's how deep this bullpen is.
Manager Ned Yost decided against using closer Greg Holland for the third straight game. Instead he turned to the trusted combination of Jason Frasor, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis to silence yet another opponent in a 4-2 win over the Angels on Friday.
With three shutout innings from that trio, make that 11 straight scoreless innings from the Royals' bullpen to start the season.
"I talked to [pitching coach] Dave [Eiland], and we decided just not to push it with Holly this early in the season," Yost said. "He'd gone two straight games and [we were] just keeping him fresh."
It hardly mattered to the Angels, who managed a bloop double to right with two outs in the seventh by Matt Joyce off Frasor. But Frasor came back and struck out former Royal Johnny Giavotella on a wicked slider.
The Angels had Mike Trout on first with one out in the eighth, but Herrera calmly shattered the bat of Albert Pujols, who grounded out, then fooled David Freese with a changeup causing another ground out.
"I had a really good sinker and changeup tonight," Herrera said. "We feel confident if one of us has to rest, the other guys can step up."
Herrera normally owns the seventh inning, but was pushed back to the eighth Friday. Any difference?
"Maybe a little more pressure," Herrera said. "You're closer to the end."
Davis, perhaps the top relief pitcher in baseball last season, came on in the ninth and whiffed the side. At times, Davis' performance looked almost unfair as he painted the corners with a 98-mph fastball.
"I almost feel sorry for the other hitters sometimes when he comes in," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "Sometimes you see him pitch like that, you know the hitters have no chance. They're just trying to put it in play, if they can."