Why Yankees’ Fans Should Pay Close Attention To The AL Wild Card Game

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Sep 15, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher

James Shields

(33) delivers a pitch against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. (Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports)


You can make the case that the Royals acquired James Shields in the winter of 2013 for this specific game. The pitcher known as “Big Game James” in Tampa Bay has been the veteran leader on this Royals’ team and has been able to eat innings throughout the entire season. His 227 innings pitched is top-five in the American League and he has averaged about 107 pitches per start.

According to ESPN.com, Shields has thrown the fourth most pitches in all of baseball (Scherzer is 3rd, Lester is 7th). Shields has given up three runs in each of his last three starts, of which he is 0-1 in those games. That being said, the 32-year-old has stepped up his game as the season has gone along, particularly in the month of September. He has a 2.31 ERA this month and has 30 strikeouts to just four walks in five starts.

He faced Oakland at O.Co Coliseum back on August 3 and threw eight great innings, giving up two runs on four hits in a 4-2 win. However, the splits show that Shields is a much better away from home when you consider that 10 of his 14 wins have come on the road and he is a tad more hittable at Kauffman Stadium (3.51 ERA at home compared to 2.97 on the road).