Game 122 Preview: Royals at Tigers

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Tigers rookie Jose Alvarez will get the toughest matchup of his young career tonight, facing Royals ace James Shields in the nightcap of today's doubleheader.

Kansas City Royals (63-57) at Detroit Tigers (71-50)

Time/Place: 7:08 p.m., Comerica Park

SB Nation blog: Royals Review

Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TVTigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: RHP James Shields (7-8, 3.33 ERA) vs. LHP Jose Alvarez (1-2, 5.03 ERA)

Pitcher GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 WHIP FIP SIERA fWAR
Shields 25 167.2 7.30 2.79 0.97 1.28 3.85 4.00 2.5
Alvarez 4 19.2 7.78 3.20 2.29 1.42 5.99 4.05 -0.2

Shields' August numbers aren't too pretty, but a lot of that has to do with a seven run implosion against the Minnesota Twins 10 days ago. He gave up three home runs during the outing. While this is the second time he has allowed at least two dingers in his last five starts, he has also struggled with his command. He has given up 10 walks in his last 19 innings of work, including five in another start against the Twins on August 1st.

Oddly enough, neither the homers nor the walks are Shields' biggest issue. Since the All-Star Break, Shields has 20 strikeouts in 33 innings, or just 5.45 per nine innings. He was fanning 7.75 batters per nine innings prior to the break. Is this just a small sample? We can't be sure, but he has seen second half lulls like this before. He raced out to an unsustainable 2.33 ERA in the first half of 2011, and while his second half ERA was still a tidy 3.46, his strikeout numbers dipped considerably and his home run rate went up.

Alvarez didn't last long in his last big league outing, allowing five runs (four earned) in three innings against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 1st. Since then, the Tigers are 28-11. Alvarez hasn't been too bad himself, going 3-2 with a 2.78 ERA in seven starts -- including five quality starts -- down at Triple-A Toledo. He only issued nine walks in those seven starts. He will need to mix his pitches without tipping his changeup -- something it seemed he was doing in his last couple big league starts -- in order to be successful tonight.

Outlook

I'm a bit surprised by Ned Yost's decision to start Shields in the second game of the doubleheader instead of sending him up against Verlander. For one, the entire basis for the Shields trade was to bring in a bona fide ace to stabilize their starting rotation. It seems odd to essentially throw away the first game of this doubleheader given how far out of the division and Wild Card races Kansas City currently is.

And yet, it worked. Now the Royals have Shields on the mound against a rookie that looked overmatched the last time he faced a big league offense. Will the offense's Friday night home surges continue? Or will Shields give the Royals a sweep and keep their hopes alive for another day?

Prediction

Shields struggles but the Royals win in a shootout.

More Roars

Tigers GIFS | On Twitter: @TigersGIFS

Tigers minor league scores and coverage

Follow us on Facebook!

Byb-twitter-insert

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bless You Boys

You must be a member of Bless You Boys to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bless You Boys. You should read them.

Join Bless You Boys

You must be a member of Bless You Boys to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bless You Boys. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker