After this series, I think I'm going to miss the Padres. The Royals haven't lost two games in a row since the beginning of June, and have lost just twice in the past two weeks. They currently cling to a half-game lead at the top of the AL Central, a loss away from tying with the Detroit Tigers. When they visited Seattle in early May, they split a four-game series against the M's, keeping three of the four games within a couple of runs.
Tonight, Kansas City right-hander James Shields takes the mound for his 16th appearance of the year. His 8-3 record is boosted by a run support average of 5.32 runs per game, most notably during a 6-3 win against the Chicago White Sox last Sunday, when Shields struck out three of 29 batters after allowing 10 hits, three runs, and a walk through six innings. It's not the only shaky outing Shields has put together this month -- he had another nine-hit, single-strikeout outing against the St. Louis Cardinals in early June -- but the 32-year-old hasn't been saddled with a loss since May 2.
The Mariners, for their part, will send out Hisashi Iwakuma against the third-best team in the American League. Iwakuma experienced some neck stiffness between starts this week, and had to skip his bullpen session in order to be fully recovered for today's game. He told the press that he feels no lingering discomfort and should be ready to go by game time. Iwakuma tossed his first shutout of the season against the Royals last month, giving up four hits and fanning seven batters in eight innings. Earlier this week, he went eight innings against the Rangers for his fifth win of the year, striking out six and allowing one run on six hits.
- Mariners @ Royals, 5:10 p.m. PST
- Tonight's game will be televised on ROOT Sports, broadcast on 710 ESPN, and available for out-of-market fans on MLB TV here.
- In case you've lost count, it is now Day #11 of the Endy Chavez Leadoff Experiment (Day #5 if you're only counting consecutive appearances).
|SEATTLE MARINERS||KANSAS CITY ROYALS|
|Endy Chavez - RF||Jarrod Dyson - CF|
|James Jones - CF||Omar Infante - 2B|
|Robinson Cano - 2B||Eric Hosmer - 1B|
|Kyle Seager - DH||Billy Butler - DH|
|Logan Morrison - 1B||Alex Gordon - LF|
|Dustin Ackley - LF||Salvador Perez - C|
|Mike Zunino - C||Lorenzo Cain - RF|
|Brad Miller - SS||Mike Moustakas - 3B|
|Willie F. Bloomquist - 3B||Alcides Escobar - SS|
|Hisashi Iwakuma - RHP||James Shields - RHP|