Found August 01, 2013 on
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Kansas City Royals
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The Kansas City Royals received plenty of flak for trading two of their top prospects for James Shields in the offseason, but he's proving to be a major reason they're heading into August with legitimate playoff hopes.
Shields takes the mound as visiting Kansas City seeks a ninth consecutive win Thursday against the Twins -- and its first sweep in Minnesota in 14 years.
The Royals dealt Wil Myers and pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi, along with two other minor leaguers, to Tampa Bay for Shields on Dec. 10 in a trade that was made with the present in mind.
Kansas City (53-51) doesn't have many complaints right now as it is just 4 12 games behind Cleveland for the AL's second wild-card spot. The Royals haven't been above .500 this late since finishing 83-79 in 2003.
They started that season 9-0, which also is the last time they've had a winning streak of that length.
"We're just hoping to continue it every day," said Billy Butler, who drove in two runs in Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Twins. "Everybody in here doesn't want to be the guy that ends the streak. That's the type of pressure we want to put ourselves in."
The Royals haven't swept a series in Minnesota since taking four games May 7-10, 1999.
Though Shields (5-7, 3.09 ERA) has been solid, the offense hasn't provide much support for him.
Shields ranks near the bottom of the majors with a 3.39 run-support average, but he didn't need much help while pitching seven scoreless innings of Friday's 5-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.
He's 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA while getting 10 runs of support over his last four outings.
"Forget the record," manager Ned Yost said. "The record doesn't tell a quarter of the story of the way he's pitched all year. He's been really, really good. He's an innings eater (and) he keeps us in the game every time. We've just struggled to score runs for him."
The Royals didn't have trouble scoring the last time Shields faced the Twins, winning 9-3 as he gave up three runs in 6 13 innings June 28. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.62 ERA in his last five starts versus Minnesota.
The Twins (45-59) have dropped three straight after Wednesday's defeat, as shortstop Pedro Florimon made a crucial error in the seventh that eventually led to two runs scoring.
Florimon did homer in the fifth, though, while Trevor Plouffe and Chris Herrmann each drove in a run.
"They're hot right now," manager Ron Gardenhire said of the Royals. "Things are going their way. They're definitely into the games over there."
Scott Diamond will take the hill looking to cool off Kansas City while picking up his first victory since June 20.
Diamond (5-9, 5.26) has gone 0-3 with a 5.23 ERA over his last six starts, though he limited Seattle to one run in 6 23 innings of Minnesota's 3-2, 13-inning win on Friday.
"We really just continued to attack the zone and kept them on their heels," Diamond said. "It really paid off."
The left-hander allowed four runs and 10 hits over six innings while losing each of his last two starts versus the Royals in 2012.
Kansas City has a 1.44 ERA during its winning streak, and Minnesota is averaging 2.6 runs while dropping five of seven.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
by John Viril—
With the July 31 trade deadline now only hours away (3 PM Eastern), it now appears the Kansas City Royals will stand pat. When beat reporter Bob Dutton asked an unnamed club official on Tuesday night if anything was “cooking”, he received a reply that, “The stove isn’t even on.”
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Sometimes the best moves a general manager can make at the trade deadline are the ones he doesn't make.
In the Royals' case, that may have been Dayton Moore's decision not to move Ervin Santana.
Moore did listen to offers for Santana, but none was compelling enough to disrupt the winning attitude that is prevailing on the Royals' 25-man roster...
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There's at least one ecstatic Royals fan after the trade deadline came and went Wednesday afternoon with the Royals making only one relatively minor deal:
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Five observations on the current state of the Royals.
FINALLY, SOME OFFENSE
We've been saying all year that the Royals have a simple formula for winning.
They hit. They win.
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When you’re hot, you’re hot. The Kansas City Royals have won 9 straight games, thanks to playing some of the most complete baseball since George Brett, Amos Otis, and Willie Wilson were stars. Case in point as Lorenzo Cain robs Minnesota Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe of a home run and makes it look easy (courtesy of MLB.com).
Cain almost made it look routine, even the announcer...
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In Tuesday night's 7-2 victory, Butler went...
The Kansas City Royals are on the verge of their longest undefeated stretch in a decade.
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The Kansas City Royals' current string of victories hasn't come against impressive competition, and Friday night's series opener against the New York Mets wouldn't appear to be much more difficult.
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The Mets return to Queens tonight and open an interleague series against Kansas City Royals. Dillon Gee will take the mound for the Amazin’s. On the season Dillon is 7-8 with a 4.13 ERA over 124.1 innings of work. Overall in the month of July, 5 starts, he posted a 2.88 ERA over 34.1 innings of work. Not really surprisingly, Dillon hasn’t faced the Royals in his career but does...
As the Kansas Royals get ready to visit Citi Field for a weekend set with the Mets, it occurred to me that there is a whole generation of baseball fans out there, who weren’t even born when the Royals ruled the western division of the American League.
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