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Quick turnaround

Little time for recovery as the Kansas City Nine take the field this afternoon.

Dilip Vishwanat

Less than 12 hours after Greg Holland shut down the Indians, the two teams meet again in the final game of the series.

Just like the Continental Congress mandated.

This afternoon, it will be James Shields against Ubaldo Jimenez.

We can talk about Shields being a "true ace" - he isn't - but in the Royals universe, he's certainly one. For the season, he's has a 8 SO/9 and 2.5 BB/9. His 2.99 ERA is a tick lower than his 3.54 xFIP and he's stranding over 80 percent of all baserunners, compared to a career rate of 73 percent. We've been discussing regression among Royal starters, and while Shields may be a candidate, it would be a gentle adjustment. If he can keep pace, he's on target to give the 2011 season a run as the best of his career.

He's been walking a few more hitters in his last seven starts, dating back to a 122 pitch outing in mid-May, but is still in the business of keeping Royals in games. He's still giving the Royals at least seven innings per start, but with Nervous Ned without set roles in his bullpen these days, they need him to go as deep as possible.

Day baseball. Fire up the grill, grab a Boulevard, get Denny on the call and chill out in your backyard. The game thread will be up about 30 minutes prior.


Have a great holiday.