If Kansas City wins and Detroit loses on Sunday, the Royals will play for the American League Central crown on Monday at Comerica Park. James Shields would start that game on three days of rest, manager Ned Yost revealed before the team played the White Sox. Jason Vargas would start in Tuesday’s Wild Card, if necessary.
The Royals magic number is down to two with four games to play and the Royals appear bound for the Wild Card game against the Oakland A’s. If the two teams post identical records, Kansas City would host. But the matchup should be spectacular. Shields would duel with lefty Jon Lester.
At long last, the Royals-Indians game from Aug. 31 will end on Monday in Cleveland. Unless Kansas City can pick up two runs before it makes three outs, the loss will register on its record. Then the Royals begin a three-game series against the Indians and Danny Duffy will pitch for the first time since Sept. 6.
Ned Yost raised more than a few eyebrows when he explained his reasoning for using Raul Ibanez instead of Billy Butler as a pinch-hitter in the final at-bat of Saturday’s Royals loss. Butler is back in lineup for in Sunday’s finale.