The Ace of ClubsFollow @RoyalsBlue_com
For all those doubters out there, *myself included up until yesterday, James Shields officially stamped his name as the Kansas City Ace. There has been some rumblings down the stretch (Mostly from Luke) that Shields may not even be the #2 starter on this staff with the dominant performances of Danny Duffy and Jason Vargas. However, with his second straight game allowing no runs in 7 or more innings it is clear the king has reclaimed his thrown. Oh and did I mention the games were against the A.L. Central Co-Leader Detroit Tigers, and New York Yankees?
Big Game James accounted for 2 of the 3 wins on what may have been the most crucial road trip the Royals have had in 29 years. All by accumulating a measly 0.00 ERA, 15 strikeouts, 1 walk, and an amazing .39 WHIP in 15 1/3 innings.
For two straight years now we have had the nickname Big Game James shoved down our collective throats by the Royals P.R. and Media crew. Well now I see why. Early in the season Shields was giving up a lot of runs, for his standards. From the home opener in March until the end of June Shields posted a 3.83 ERA. While these are no Aaron Brooks like numbers, they are still higher than you would like for the Ace of a team built on pitching and defense. Shields got to the point, where he averaged a 4.77 ERA for the months of May and June.
The corner stone of the biggest trade in 20 or so years for the Royals was looking a little crumbly.
Then the Royals decided to take first, and play meaningful games. The lights of the stadiums got a little brighter, the cameras started pointing in our direction, and BOOM! Big Game James jumped on the stage, grabbed the MIC, belted out 2 straight hours worth of energy and a few hits, dropped the mic and walked off! His U.S. tour is now coming back to Kansas City, with the hopes of propelling this team all the way to the playoffs.
And so it is with great distain, and a weird taste of humble pie on my breath that I say “You are correct Sir.”
To the skipper of these Kansas City Royals for his unwavering directive that Shields will start the first game of the playoffs for the Royals when they get there in October. There is absolutely no other option in my mind (the comments of this article are subject to change). If and when the Royals make the playoffs, Shields Has the ball to start the series, and every 4th game from then on. Their is no one on this team with the experience, attitude, or ability that Shields has.
You hear of runners having another gear that lets the go even faster. I think Shields has another dimension of focus that he can get to in bigger games. It is uncanny, and the reason why he earned the name ‘Big Game James.’ And the reason why I like our odds if we do make it to the playoffs. Now if you will excuse me I need to go brush my teeth to get that terrible taste out!
It is worth mentioning that his fellow trade partner Wade Davis has quietly (as the silent assassin does) slammed the door shut in all 3 of the games the Royals won during the six game road trip with 3 saves. Making this lowly Royals fan wonder what is to come of the offseason with Luke Hoechavar coming back (pending Dayton signing him as a free agent). Is there a possibility of trade bait with a club that desperately needs to improve their pen in the offseason? Will Greg Holland still be closing for the Royals? Find all this out and more on Royalsblue.com!
*It’s worth mentioning I have always really liked Shields, and thought he was one of the best pitchers in the league. But this year I thought this year Vargy and Duffy have been surprises, and therefore I probably over looked Shields because of that. Call it the Mike Trout effect.
“If you’re going to win consistently in the major leagues, you’re going to need a rotation that gives you innings, competes, and helps you win. When you can acquire a pitcher like James Shields, we have to do it, because that’s what we’ve committed to ... Read more