|KANSAS CITY ( VARGAS )|
TAMPA BAY ( HELLICKSON )
|967||KANSAS CITY||-110||Ov 7.5,-110||-115||Ov 7,-120|
|968||TAMPA BAY||+100||Un 7.5,-110||+105||Un 7,+100|
|vs Right-handed Starters||34-30||-2.4||33-28||4.4||0.266||0.312||4.0||0.256||0.310|
|Past 7 Games||4-3||+0.8||3-4||4.1||0.280||0.312||3.3||0.259||0.311|
|vs Left-handed Starters||10-16||-9.3||12-12||3.6||0.245||0.311||4.6||0.252||0.318|
|Past 7 Games||5-2||+2.9||4-2||4.1||0.272||0.324||3.7||0.258||0.315|
|6/24/2014||DUFFY(L)||LA DODGERS||KERSHAW(L)||0-2||L||+140||7 un||U||6||6||0||6||7||0|
|6/25/2014||SHIELDS(R)||LA DODGERS||HAREN(R)||4-5||L||-165||7.5 ov||O||8||6||1||10||7||1|
|6/27/2014||VARGAS(L)||LA ANGELS||SHOEMAKER(R)||8-6||W||-125||8.5 un||O||13||8||1||9||4||1|
|6/28/2014||VENTURA(R)||LA ANGELS||SANTIAGO(L)||2-6||L||-135||8.5 ev||U||6||6||0||12||7||0|
|6/29/2014||GUTHRIE(R)||LA ANGELS||WILSON(L)||5-4||W||+110||8.5 un||O||11||12||2||8||6||1|
|6/30/2014||DUFFY(L)||@ MINNESOTA||PINO(R)||6-1||W||-135||8 ov||U||10||6||0||9||11||2|
|7/1/2014||SHIELDS(R)||@ MINNESOTA||NOLASCO(R)||2-10||L||-140||7.5 un||O||10||7||2||15||12||0|
|7/2/2014||VARGAS(L)||@ MINNESOTA||CORREIA(R)||4-0||W||-135||8 un||U||9||10||0||4||6||0|
|7/4/2014||VENTURA(R)||@ CLEVELAND||TOMLIN(R)||7-1||W||100||7.5 un||O||12||6||0||6||6||1|
|7/5/2014||GUTHRIE(R)||@ CLEVELAND||HOUSE(L)||3-7||L||105||8 un||O||12||8||0||14||9||0|
|7/6/2014||DUFFY(L)||@ CLEVELAND||KLUBER(R)||1-4||L||145||7 un||U||4||4||0||10||6||0|
|7/7/2014||SHIELDS(R)||@ TAMPA BAY||ODORIZZI(R)||6-0||W||120||7 un||U||14||10||0||4||5||1|
|7/8/2014||VARGAS(L)||@ TAMPA BAY||HELLICKSON(R)|| |
|7/9/2014||VENTURA(R)||@ TAMPA BAY||COBB(R)|| |
|6/27/2014||COLOME(R)||@ BALTIMORE||GAUSMAN(R)||5-2||W||120||8.5 un||U||9||6||1||3||4||0|
|6/27/2014||ODORIZZI(R)||@ BALTIMORE||TILLMAN(R)||1-4||L||-110||8.5 un||U||5||4||0||10||10||0|
|6/28/2014||BEDARD(L)||@ BALTIMORE||CHEN(L)||5-4||W||130||8.5 un||O||10||8||0||8||3||1|
|6/29/2014||COBB(R)||@ BALTIMORE||GONZALEZ(R)||12-7||W||-115||8.5 un||O||18||9||0||13||7||0|
|6/30/2014||ARCHER(R)||@ NY YANKEES||PHELPS(R)||4-3||W||105||8 ov||U||9||13||0||9||8||0|
|7/1/2014||PRICE(L)||@ NY YANKEES||KURODA(R)||2-1||W||-125||7.5 un||U||9||8||1||4||8||0|
|7/2/2014||ODORIZZI(R)||@ NY YANKEES||NUNO(L)||6-3||W||-110||9 un||P||12||9||0||10||9||1|
|7/3/2014||BEDARD(L)||@ DETROIT||SCHERZER(R)||1-8||L||180||8 un||O||2||2||0||15||7||0|
|7/4/2014||COBB(R)||@ DETROIT||SMYLY(L)||6-3||W||105||8 un||O||9||8||1||6||5||0|
|7/5/2014||ARCHER(R)||@ DETROIT||SANCHEZ(R)||7-2||W||115||7.5 ev||O||11||7||0||6||7||0|
|7/6/2014||PRICE(L)||@ DETROIT||PORCELLO(R)||7-3||W||-115||7.5 ov||O||19||11||0||7||6||0|
|7/7/2014||ODORIZZI(R)||KANSAS CITY||SHIELDS(R)||0-6||L||-130||7 un||U||4||5||1||14||10||0|
|7/8/2014||HELLICKSON(R)||KANSAS CITY||VARGAS(L)|| |
|7/9/2014||COBB(R)||KANSAS CITY||VENTURA(R)|| |
|KANSAS CITY: KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - James Shields thinks back to last year, thoughtfully piecing together what was missing from the Kansas City Royals as they made a late push for the postseason.|
The pitching was strong. The offense was coming around. The defense was sublime.
He finally settled on experience.
''These guys that didn't realize or have never been to September, when you're fighting for a playoff spot, now you have that experience,'' Shields said. ''And I think that was one of the things we were lacking last season, the experience. You tend to put too much on your shoulders. And I think the second half we definitely relaxed and put all that aside and had fun and played the game the way we know how to play, and it showed.
''I think with the experience factor now,'' Shields concluded, ''we're ready to go.''
After finishing 86-76 a year ago, and contending into September for the first time in a decade, the Royals have their sets sight squarely on their first playoff appearance since 1985 this year.
Anything less would be a disappointment. Anything less would be a failure.
''Last year was a blast. When the end of the season came in Chicago, nobody wanted to leave,'' first baseman Eric Hosmer said. ''They knew how close we were. We were right there. And it left a good taste in everyone's mouth going into the offseason, knowing how good everyone can be.''
Indeed, the Royals return most of their key players from a year ago, signing left-hander Jason Vargas to replace their only significant loss, starting pitcher Ervin Santana. They also upgraded at their weakest spots, trading for Norichika Aoki to play right field and bat leadoff and signing Omar Infante to settle a second base position that has been a black hole for years.
All of which left the notoriously frugal franchise with a record-setting payroll.
Royals manager Ned Yost hopes all those moves will pay off for a rotation that was among the league's best last year, and an offense that was among the league's worst.
''It's going to be a lineup that has offensive sequence from one to nine. You're not going to have any dead spots,'' Yost said. ''You're not going to get something going and then bam, run into a wall and have to get going again. At least, I hope not. I don't think so.''
So with more experience and an upgraded lineup, Kansas City enters its season opener Sunday at Detroit with boundless enthusiasm.
|TAMPA BAY: ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The Tampa Bay Rays feel they have everything it takes to win the World Series and aren't afraid to say it.|
The budget-minded franchise that's played into October four out of the past six seasons boosted payroll instead of cutting back this winter in hopes of making another strong run for the playoffs.
''The goal is to be the team that plays the last game of the year and win,'' third baseman Evan Longoria said.
''I felt like we were really close to breaking through last year,'' the three-time AL All-Star added. ''And with the team that we have this year, I'm really excited to go out and try to prove to ourselves that we are good enough to do that.''
The Rays won 92 games a year ago, including a Game 163 tie-breaker to claim a wild-card spot, and have compiled the second-best record in baseball over the past six seasons.
That's not enough for manager Joe Maddon and a hungry collection of players who reported to spring training feeling as if there's unfinished business to tend to after losing to eventual World Series champion Boston in the AL division round.
''I love that our guys feel and think that way. I think it's great,'' Maddon said.
''You'll hear that rhetoric in a lot of clubhouses, whether it's baseball, football or basketball, but you've got to back it up. You have to really believe it. Not just say it,'' he said. ''Some groups say it because they're supposed to say it. Some groups say it because they believe it. Our guys believe it.''
That confidence was bolstered by the Rays' ability to keep most of the key components from last year's roster together, including lefty David Price, who anchors one of baseball's deepest pitching rotations.
Price and just about everybody else expected the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner to be traded, however the Rays wound up giving him a $14 million one-year deal, in addition to re-signing first baseman James Loney and landing free agent closer Grant Balfour in moves that represent a big chunk of a club-record payroll of around $80 million.
Andrew Friedman, the team's vice president of baseball operations, also traded for catcher Ryan Hanigan and infielder Logan Forsythe to give Maddon additional flexibility filling out a batting order around Longoria and 2013 AL rookie of the year Wil Myers.
''Talent can't win every game for you, but it's a good start,'' said Loney, who signed a three-year, $21 million deal - largest since Tampa Bay has given to a free agent since Stuart Sternberg became principal owner.
''If we can stay healthy, if we can do the things we're capable of doing,'' second baseman Ben Zobrist add, ''we certainly have as good or better chance than any other team in the league to win it all.''
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER AL PREVIEW (KANSAS CITY-TAMPA BAY) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
*Royals-Rays Preview* =====================
By PAUL DIGIACOMO STATS Senior Editor
Kansas City (45-42) at Tampa Bay (41-50), 7:10 p.m. EDT
It would be hard to fault the Tampa Bay Rays for their early-season struggles considering they were missing three-fifths of their starting rotation.
They're beginning to climb out of that funk, and they're hoping the return of Jeremy Hellickson leads to more success.
Hellickson makes his season debut Tuesday night when the Rays continue a three-game series against the visiting Kansas City Royals.
The right-hander went 12-10 with a career-high 5.17 ERA in 32 appearances - 31 starts - in 2013 before experiencing discomfort in his elbow after beginning an offseason throwing program in December.
He had arthroscopic surgery in January and was placed on the disabled list in late March, one week before Matt Moore was lost for the season due to elbow surgery and two weeks prior to Tampa Bay putting Alex Cobb on the DL with an oblique strain that sidelined him for nearly six weeks.
Those injuries are part of the reason why the Rays (41-51) have found themselves at or near the bottom of the AL East for most of the year, but a 6-0 loss in Monday's series opener was just their third in 13 games.
"I guess we were kind of due for one of these games," losing pitcher Jake Odorizzi said. "I don't think this game is really going to set us back that much in the long run."
Hellickson began a rehab assignment June 7 and went 1-4 with a 6.23 ERA in six starts.
"I'm excited," Hellickson told MLB's official website. "It's definitely been a long time, but it's felt even longer. I was expecting to be back a month ago and, you know, had a couple of setbacks. But I'm feeling good now."
The 2011 AL Rookie of the Year is 1-2 with a 6.18 ERA in five starts against the Royals (46-42). Billy Butler is 9 for 14, Alex Gordon has gone 7 for 14 and Omar Infante is 4 for 6 against Hellickson.
Gordon and Infante each went 3 for 5 with two RBIs on Monday as Kansas City avoided a third straight loss. Infante is 11 for 25 over his last six games.
Tampa Bay will be facing Jason Vargas (8-3, 3.32 ERA), who in his last outing bounced back nicely from one of his worst starts of the season.
He was 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA in his previous six starts before allowing six runs and nine hits - three homers - in four innings in an 8-6 win over the Angels on June 27.
Vargas shook off that outing by giving up four hits over seven innings in Wednesday's 4-0 victory at Minnesota to become the first Royals left-hander to win at least eight games before the All-Star break since Chris George in 2003.
"He really knows his game plan when he's out there," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "He just fires strikes and lets his defense work. He's a fun guy to play behind, because you're on your toes every pitch."
Vargas is 4-0 with a 1.52 ERA in eight road starts and has gone 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA in four at Tropicana Field. He gave up one run and four hits over eight innings to beat the visiting Rays 4-2 on April 7.
Ben Zobrist is 11 for 26 against Vargas and homered off him three months ago. Zobrist is 10 for 18 in the last four games after going 2 for 3 on Monday.
Kansas City is 13-4 in this series since the beginning of the 2012 season.
|Last Updated: 10/23/2014 1:26:21 AM EST|