James Shields will start for the Royals. Shields has pitched well for the Royals this season, posting a 3.36 ERA with a 3.88 FIP. The right-hander did a good job impersonating an ace earlier this year, but his statistics have regressed towards his career averages during the summer.
The Minnesota Twins battered Shields in his previous start, as he surrendered seven runs on eight hits, including three homers. The Royals will need a better effort from Shields today.
Miguel Tejada strained his calf going after a groundball Saturday night, so Elliot Johnson will presumably start at second. I also expect David Lough and Jarrod Dyson in the lineup, but I’m writing this before batting orders have been released.
John Lackey will take the mound for the Red Sox. Lackey has quietly had a strong season for Boston, as he owns a 3.21 ERA with a 3.66 FIP. The right-hander’s perihperals look as strong as they ever have; he has fanned 22.5% of the batters he has faced this season while only walking 5.1%.
His numbers look similar to Ervin Santana’s numbers for the Royals, and both are bouncing back from disastrous/nonexistent 2012 campaigns. Lackey should keep the Royals offense in check, so this looks to be a low-scoring affair.
No song of the day today, due to technical difficulties. I nominate Phil to provide a suitable YouTube video to help fill the time before the game starts.