Opinion

Mike Moustakas to start for Royals against Oakland southpaw ace Jon Lester

The KC Royals’ Mike Moustakas will start at third base against Jon Lester on Tuesday when the Royals play the A’s in the AL wild card game.
The KC Royals’ Mike Moustakas will start at third base against Jon Lester on Tuesday when the Royals play the A’s in the AL wild card game. The Kansas City Star

There’s a decent crowd here at Kauffman Stadium for a fan rally before Tuesday’s wild card games. The Royals are taking batting practice as they prepare to host Oakland.

Here are some news and notes from manager Ned Yost’s news conference:

1. Mike Moustakas will start at third base against Athletics southpaw Jon Lester. Moustakas has a .554 OPS against lefties, but Yost will stick with him. Jayson Nix is hitless in eight at-bats as a Royal. Christian Colon looks like a better offensive option, but the team still harbors concern about his broken right middle finger hampering his throwing.

“We’re going to stick with Moose,” Yost said. “It’s going to be a low-scoring game. Moose has been swinging better against left-handed pitchers the last two weeks. There’s been a lot of discussion about it. But we’re going to stick with Moose.”

2. Yost expects to carry nine pitchers for Tuesday’s game. He declined to reveal his starting pitchers for the American League Division Series, if the Royals should advance. James Shields would be lined up to pitch game three on Sept. 5 at Kauffman Stadium. But the first two games in Anaheim are undecided.

Part of the uncertainty revolves around how Yost uses his staff on Tuesday. Besides Shields, the bullpen figures to include Greg Holland, Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera, Brandon Finnegan and Jason Frasor. The last few spots are up in the air. If Yost seeks a lefty, would he choose, Francisley Bueno, Scott Downs or Danny Duffy? Would he prefer Aaron Crow or Yordano Ventura? Plus, Jason Vargas will likely be kept as a long man.

“You’ve got to try to set yourself up for every scenario,” Yost said. “If something happens to [Shields], if he takes a line drive off his shin or his elbow, you’ve got to have length there.”

3. Yost expects to keep Terrance Gore on the roster as a pinch-running specialist. He also is willing to pinch-hit for Moustakas in a late-game situation against a lefty reliever, so Josh Willingham figures to get a spot. Nix and Colon should be on the roster. Lane Adams could be retained as an additional pinch runner.

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

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