A quick turnaround for the teams with a noon Central Time start today. Luis Mendoza takes on James Shields in a Gilligan game (no TV) with the series knotted at 1-1. Given the Royals' troubled history of playing in The Trop, just having a chance to win a series there can probably be viewed as progress.
Mendoza, who has pretty much surprised everyone but Dayton Moore, by posting 4.26 ERA (4.20 FIP) in 120 innings this season has survived by keeping the ball on the ground (53.0% GB rate) and keeping it in the park (just 0.69 HR/9). In his last four starts, Luis has gone 27.2 innings and allowed 22 hits, 11 runs, 5 walks and struck out 18. That is pretty solid work, young man.
The Rays counter with James Shields, who with 167 innings in the books already this year and a 4.03 ERA (3.77 FIP), is only their number three starter. I wonder what it's like to trot out Hellickson, Price and Shields in a series? Oh, and have Matt Moore, too. Shields is on pace to notch his sixth straight year of 200 innigs or more and is currently posting the highest strikeout rate of his career (8.66 K/9).
Kansas City has opened up a game and one-half lead over the slumping Indians for third place in the Central and are ten games out of the last wild card spot. No, it's not realistic to think this team is getting anywhere near the wildcard (after all, half the league is between them and Baltimore), but it would be kind of fun to get within single digits game-wise.