Tonight's match-up betwixt division rivals features a match-up of struggling starters, James Shields and Ricky Nolasco.
Kansas City's ace followed a strong April with a dismal May and June. Since his seven-inning win in Baltimore on April 27th, Shields's ERA is a shocking 4.77, striking out just 46 while walking 11, hitting four batsmen, and yielding 11 home runs in 76.1 innings pitched. His LD% in those 11 starts is an alarming 25%. In that time, the traditional workhorse exceeded seven innings pitched precisely zero times, a feat he has accomplished just once this season in comparison to the seven times he did it last season. His K-rates have dwindled in those 11 starts, registering just 5.78 K/9 and a 14.6 K%.
The Royals have fortunately been winning most of these starts, but those wins are hardly attributable to Shields as the Royals offense mystifyingly scored five or more runs in eight of these starts.
For the Twins, their offseason acquisition of Ricky Nolasco looks ugly thus far. Much of this can be attributed to the .355 BABIP he currently sports, a figure one must assume will regress to the mean. With batted ball percentages very much in line with his career averages, one must assume that bad luck is rearing its ugly head. Still, a 5.74 ERA is ugly, and a 4.54 FIP isn't much prettier.
The Raul Ibanez Era re-begins:
Prometheus Lineup: Cain 8, Hosmer 3, Butler DH, Gordon 7, Perez 2, Ibanez 9, Infante 4, Moustakas 5, Escobar 6, Shields 1. #royals— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) July 1, 2014
These are the dastardly Twins:
#MNTwins lineup vs KC: Nunez SS, Mauer 1B, Parmelee LF, Morales DH, Plouffe 3B, Arcia RF, Suzuki C, Escobar 2B, Fuld CF & Nolasco— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) July 1, 2014
This will be a [r]WAR.