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 said before the team played the White Sox.
That would leave Jason Vargas, who has posted a 9.00 ERA in his last four starts, to pitch if the Royals lost and needed to host the Wild Card game on Tuesday. Yost appears unperturbed by the prospect of utilizing his shakiest starter in an elimination game.
"I’m going for the division," Yost said. "If I have a chance to win the division, I’m going for the division. That way, I don’t have to have a one-game elimination game if I win."
He added, "You know what? We’ve got to hit. If we hit, it doesn’t matter who we pitch."
Both Shields and Vargas informed pitching coach Dave Eiland in September they were willing to work on short rest. Shields learned of this assignment during Friday night’s celebration. He threw a brief bullpen session the next afternoon. He has never before pitched on three days’ rest in this fashion.
"This is what it’s all about," Shields said. "This is what playoff baseball is all about. You’ve got to push aside some of your aches and pains and go after it."
Here are the lineups as RHP Yordano Ventura (14-10, 3.07 ERA) faces RHP Chris Bassitt (1-1, 3.65 ERA):
1. Alcides Escobar, SS.
2. Nori Aoki, RF.
3. Lorenzo Cain, CF.
4. Eric Hosmer, 1B.
5. Billy Butler, DH.
6. Alex Gordon, LF.
7. Salvador Perez, C.
8. Omar Infante, 2B.
9. Mike Moustakas, 3B.
WHITE SOX (73-88)
1. Adam Eaton, CF.
2. Marcus Semien, 3B.
3. Leurys Garcia, RF.
4. Paul Konerko, 1B.
5. Dayan Viciedo, DH.
6. Jordan Danks, LF.
7. Josh Phegley, C.
8. Carlos Sanchez, 2B.
9. Leurys Garcia, SS.
FROM THE STAR
The Royals squandered an opportunity to draw even with Detroit as Danny Duffy struggled. Here is the game story from Blair Kerkhoff.
Sam Mellinger columnized the situation.
Our page one profile of Dayton Moore, the architect of the first Royals playoff team since 1985.
THE ROYALS’ PLAYOFF PERCENTAGE
THE STANDINGS IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
KC trails Detroit by one game.
THE STANDINGS IN THE WILD CARD RACE
KC is guaranteed to at least host Tuesday’s game.
HERE IS SOME ROCK MUSIC
"Waiting For Black Metal Records To Come In The Mail" by Have A Nice Life.