James Shields showed he is still the staff “ace” by dominating the Astros in the Royals 5-1 victory Thursday night in Houston. Shields struck out 12 in 8 innings, while only allowing 4 hits and two walks to earn his first win of 2014. Shields (1-2) notched a Bill James “game score” of 80, which is the highest for any Kansas City starter this season.
Take that Yordano Ventura.
Not only did Shields show that he is the staff’s alpha dog, he also helped the Royals even their season record at 7-7.
James Shields was certainly feeling his oats on Thursday. When Houston C Jason Castro objected to a called third strike to close out the 6th inning, Shields barked at him from the mound. Neither Castro, or any of the other Astro hitters, had a clue what to do with Shields. Castro was the third straight Houston batter to strike out, and Big Game James went on to ring up four more consecutive victims. Five of the seven K’s came on called third strikes.
This kind of performance is why GM Dayton Moore traded a prospect like Wil Myers to get James Shields. His team needed more than a quality pitcher: the young Royals needed a leader.
Last night, James Shields was that guy—in both attitude and performance.
The Royals slunk into Houston after the lowly Twins swept them in Minnesota. Not only did Kansas City lose: the Royals played horrible baseball. The Twins smashed Kansas City pitching for 21 runs, while holding Royal hitters to 5 runs in three games.
The three consecutive beat-downs came against what most considered one of the A.L.’s worst teams before the season began. While the Astros are hardly a powerhouse after losing 111 games in 2013, a road sweep clears the Royals palate after their lost weekend.
The Royals will get a chance to revenge their sweep with a three game series against the Twins in Kansas City. Let’s just hope that the Twins have just as bad a weekend in Kauffman Stadium as the Royals did in Minnesota.