clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Help us choose the Royals best pitching performance of 2014

Was fire thrown? Was it a Big Game?


We continue with the Royals nominations for the SB Nation MLB Awards by choosing the Royals best pitching performance of 2014.

Previous nominees:

Funniest Royals moment: Nori Aoki getting hit in the groin on a flyball

Most regrettable Royals moment: Not sending Alex Gordon in Game 7 of the World Series

Best defensive Royals play: Mike Moustakas diving above the dugout suites for a foul ball in the  ALCS

The most important Royals hit: Salvador Perez's game-winning hit in the Wild Card game

Pitching is the currency of baseball, and the Royals were one of the wealthiest teams of 2014. Let's take a look back at some of the more impressive ball-throwing action this year in Royal blue.

James Shields - August 9 against San Francisco

The Royals got to preview the World Series back in August in front of a packed house on a Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium including #1 superfan Sung Woo Lee, and several Royals Review faithful. James Shields lived up to his "Big Game James" nickname with a huge performance, throwing the only complete game shutout of his career in a Royals uniform, sprinkling just four hits and walking just one hitter. The win would push the Royals to just 1 1/2 games back of first place Detroit, and would set up a series sweep against the Giants on Sunday.

Jason Vargas - August 13 against Oakland

The following week the Royals took over first place, setting up a battle of first place clubs as the Athletics came to town. Oakland still had the best record in baseball at this point, and were still high off the huge acquisition of Jon Lester at the trade deadline.

Jason Vargas quickly deflated the A's and their high-scoring offense by scattering three hits over nine innings in his first complete game shutout in a Royals uniform. Vargas needed just 97 pitches to dispatch of the A's, in an efficient 2 hours 6 minute affair. Vargas' outing was the top Game Score for the Royals in 2014, with a score of 85.

James Shields - September 10 against Detroit

The Royals entered this September series in Detroit clinging to a 1 1/2 game lead for first place, but after dropping the first two games, found themselves looking up at Detroit in the standings with a threat of being swept. James Shields was called upon in the series finale, asked to put the Royals back in first place.

Shields came up huge, allowing just two hits over seven innings, keeping the Tigers off the board. James struck out eight and walked just one, as the Royals won 3-0 and fought their way back into first place.

Brandon Finnegan - Wild Card game against Oakland

The Royals staged an amazing comeback in the Wild Card, overcoming a 7-3 deficit, but after nine innings, the Royals and Athletics still found themselves tied. By the tenth innings, the Royals had already burned through Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland. Ned Yost turned to rookie Brandon Finnegan, who had thrown all of seven Major League innings, and was a student at Texas Christian University just a few months prior.

Finnegan proved to be up to the challenge, tossing goose eggs in the tenth and eleventh innings with three strikeouts before a leadoff walk in the twelfth would come around to score when Finnegan was pulled in favor or Jason Frasor. The Royals would be able to comeback again, but they might not have had a chance had Finnegan not given his bulldog performance.

Yordano Ventura - Game 6 of the World Series against San Francisco

The Royals had their back up against the wall in Game 6, but they were at home in front of a raucous Kauffman Stadium crowd (and potential Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year!) It helped that the Royals were able to rock Giants starter Jake Peavy for seven runs early, but Yordano Ventura gets a ton of credit for turning in a sharp performance, giving up just three hits over seven shutout innings, saving the bullpen for Game 7.

What do you think? What was the Royals top pitching performance of 2014?