ARLINGTON, Texas — Rookie right-hander Wade Davis said he always envisioned himself pitching in a postseason "must-win" game.
Today, Davis will get his wish, having to help the Rays ward off elimination in Game 4 of the American League division series against the Rangers.
Though Davis, 25, has never pitched in a big-league playoff game, manager Joe Maddon is confident he's the man for the job. He said Davis never gets rattled, recalling when the avid outdoorsman brought back a 300-pound black bear from a hunting trip in Huntsville, Ontario.
"He's kind of cold-blooded," Maddon said. "If he can stay eye-to-eye with a black bear, I think (today's game) is not that big of a deal."
Davis, remembering the "heart-pounding" trip, smiled, saying, "I hope it's nothing like that. I hope it is really different."
What also has Maddon encouraged is how well Davis has pitched since coming off the disabled list in early August. He won seven straight decisions before losing Sept. 27 against the Orioles, saying his body has been recovering faster and feeling stronger since the DL stint.
"Everything has been coming together a lot easier," he said.
Davis said the biggest key in his first postseason start is staying relaxed.
"When you are in the regular season, you are relaxed, and I think in this situation, you have to have that," Davis said. "If you are too overexcited or too amped up, it can work against you."
And Davis said he's ready for the tough Rangers lineup, though he struggled in his only start against them this season, allowing eight runs in 3 1/3 innings.
"They are a pretty interesting lineup," Davis said. "They are really aggressive, they attack you. So I think you have to get them thinking one way and then attack them in a different zone. … They are definitely a team you can't take for granted and you have to stay on top of."