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Game 136 Open Thread - Royals vs. Blue Jays

James Shields vs. J.A. Happ

Tom Szczerbowski

Another early start today, with first pitch scheduled for 12:07 pm. CT. The Royals are hoping to avoid a three-game sweep at the hand on Sunday of the Blue Jays after sweeping the Twins.

James Shields will start the game for Kansas City. The right-hander has been who we thought he was, posting a 3.72 FIP over 189 innings this season (his career FIP is 3.83). Some combination of the Royals defense and his 80.5% LOB% has allowed Shields to out-perform his peripherals with a 3.14 ERA.

fWAR credits Shields with 3.1 wins, while RA9-WAR gives him 5 wins, so we'll split the difference and call Shields roughly a four-win pitcher this season. That's a pretty solid offseason addition for Dayton Moore, if we completely ignore the price paid.

Justin Maxwell will play right field, but the rest of the Royals starting nine remains the same as Saturday. David Lesky of Pine Tar Press brings us the Royals lineup:

J.A. Happ will take the mound for Toronto. Happ will be making his sixth start since spending most of the season on the disabled list after getting hit in the head with a line drive. The injury was scary, and it's nice to see Happ back on the mound.

The southpaw has not pitched well for the Blue Jays this season; he owns a 5.46 ERA with a 4.67 FIP. Happ's biggest issue has been the free pass; his BB% is 11.9%, well above league-average.

Toronto will trot out a similar lineup Sunday, with J.P. Arencibia at catcher and Kevin Pillar starting in left field. Barry Davis of Sportsnet brings us the Blue Jays batting order:

The Royals have the clear pitching advantage; let's hope the offense can provide some runs today.

Song of the Day: Sum 41 - Fat Lip

This music video helps remind me that you should never trust your taste in music when you're in middle school (or at least that I shouldn't have). I still have fond memories of listening to All Killer No Filler, one of the many pop-punk CD's that used to frequent my rotation.