Shields Bested by Yanks, Royals Lose 8-1Follow @RoyalsBlue_com
Kansas City desperately needed someone to step up, and guide their team through a pennant chase. Who better to do so than James Shields? In seven starts prior to the match against the Yankees, Shields is 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA. Three years ago with the Tampa Bay Rays, Shields did the same thing. In July of 2011, Juego posted a 5.40 ERA, and posted a record of 1-4. Things would turn around for Shields in 2011, just like this year. After posting an ERA of nearly six in July of 2011, James came back in August and September and posted a 2.45 ERA with seven wins and three losses. Though we have not yet reached September, so far in August, Shields is pitching to the tune of a 2.17 ERA, and has yet to be defeated in four August starts.
Unfortunately, that Shields stayed home tonight.
Shields got off to a bit of a rocky start in the first inning after allowing a leadoff single to Jacoby Ellsbury, which would later be erased by Derek Jeter. James would allow a hit and a walk in the inning, but escaped with no damage done. The first inning has proven to be an issue for Big Game James this year.
The third and fourth innings were rather cumbersome for Shields. After a PFP nightmare allowed Ichiro Suzuki to get to second base, Zelous Wheeler walked to put two on with nobody out. With runners on first and third with one out, Derek Jeter grounded out to score Ichiro, but the Yankees would get no more in the inning. In the fourth inning, Stephen Drew would bang a solo shot to right field.
The seventh inning put the dagger in James Shields and Kansas City. The Bronx Bombers brought four guys around the bases to edge their lead to 6-1. Martin Prado got the disastrous seventh started with a dinger to left field. After allowing three straight hits, Shields finally got Zelous Wheeler to ground into a force play. Jacoby Ellsbury would single off of Juego to end his night.
Francisely Bueno came in and got the last out in the seventh inning, but the eighth would bring no such luck. With one on, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run home run to extend the Bombers’ lead to 8-1. Bueno has now pushed his ERA over four with another of his less-than-stellar performances.
The Royals ace ended his night allowing six earned runs, and ten hits while walking six men, and only striking out three. James Shields raised his ERA from 3.28 to 3.45. That being said, this rocky start does not dictate Shields’ entire season. It was not a ‘must-win’ game for the Royals, but it would’ve been nice to stretch the lead in the Central.
For the second day in a row, Kansas City’s offense was stuck in a rut. The Royals scored one run on six hits yesterday, and one run on seven hits, including a Mike Moustakas home run today. Interestingly enough, Josh Willingham was held out of both Kansas City lineups, but entered the game today as a pinch-hitter for Raul Ibanez. Ned Yost’s excuse for playing Ibanez instead of Willingham was that he was, “Going with the matchup.” There is nothing to say what has caused the lack of offense, but perhaps, just perhaps, Josh Willingham might have an effect on it.
Next up for Kansas City: The Minnesota Twins. Danny Duffy, he of the 2.53 ERA will square off against Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco has almost a six ERA this season, but last time out against KC, he allowed one earned run through six innings. Next up: Yordano “Ace” Ventura. Ace has been a bit shaky as far as command goes his past few starts, and will look to turn it around. In two starts against the Twins this year, Yordano has thrown thirteen and two-thirds innings, and allowed four earned runs while striking out eleven batters. Jeremy Guthrie and Tommy Milone will finish out the series on Thursday. The Royals batted around Tommy Milone for six earned runs in his one and a third innings against them last time out.
Kansas City is back down to a one-and-a-half game lead in the American League Central. Yes, the Royals have lost back-to-back games. Yes, they have looked horrible doing it. To steal a quote from Rex Hudler, “Every day is a day. Every game is a game.” These are two games that can be erased very easily with two solid series’ against Minnesota and Cleveland. This must be what it feels like to be in a pennant chase: You get discouraged, and feel like it’s the end of the world when in reality… It’s only two games. Onward and upward, Royals fans. There’s still a month of regular season baseball left to go. Don’t lose your marbles just yet.
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