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James Shields opens series for Royals against Minnesota Twins

07/29/2014 9:25 AM

07/29/2014 9:30 AM

This late in the season, with the Royals desperate to gain ground in the scramble for the American League’s second wild card, they can ill afford to drop a series. So this upcoming, three-game set with Minnesota looms large for a variety of reasons, especially considering Kansas City’s schedule in August.

On Friday, the Royals open a three-game series at Oakland. After a series against the walkovers in Arizona, they play host to San Francisco and the Athletics, a Bay Area back-to-back against two of the best teams in baseball.

So it is critical the Royals pick up ground where they can. That challenge starts tonight at Kauffman Stadium.

Here are the pitching matchups:

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.: James Shields (9-5, 3.58 ERA) vs. Kyle Gibson (8-8, 4.19 ERA).

Wednesday, 7:10 p.m.: Danny Duffy (5-10, 2.47 ERA) vs. Phil Hughes (10-7, 4.10 ERA).

Thursday, 7:10 p.m.: Yordano Ventura (7-8, 3.63 ERA) vs. Kevin Correia (5-13, 5.06 ERA).

FROM THE STAR

The Royals made an interesting trade, and reshaped their bench in the process, shipping Danny Valencia to Toronto for catcher Erik Kratz and right-hander Liam Hendriks.

An update from Wilmington on Brandon Finnegan, Sean Manaea, Miguel Almonte and the progress of the Royals’ pitching prospects.

THE ROYALS’ PLAYOFF PERCENTAGE (ACCORDING TO BASEBALL PROSPECTUS)

15.7 percent.

HERE IS SOME ROCK MUSIC

"Hide Away" by Make Do and Mend.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @McCulloughStar.

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