Major League Baseball
Preview
Minnesota at Kansas City
When: 8:10 PM ET, Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri


Thanks in part to their ability to win inside their division since the All-Star break, the Kansas City Royals have been able to gain a bit of ground despite a rough start. The Royals hope to continue their success inside the American League Central on Tuesday when they host the Minnesota Twins for the first of three games. Kansas City opened the second half by getting swept in Boston before rebounding with series victories over the Chicago White Sox (2-1) and Cleveland Indians (3-1).

The Royals, who trailed the Detroit Tigers by 6 ½ games at the break, find themselves five games off the pace as they wrap a 10-game run through their division against the last-place Twins, who avoided a four-game sweep with a 4-3 victory over the White Sox on Sunday. The win concluded a 3-7 homestand following the Midsummer Classic and was only Minnesota’s 11th victory in its last 30 games. "It's frustrating for me and my coaching staff. We had some pretty big hopes for this homestand to do some good,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told the team’s official site.

TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), FSN Kansas City

PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Kyle Gibson (8-8, 4.19 ERA) vs. Royals RH James Shields (9-5, 3.58)

After getting scratched from a start on Saturday due to a stiff back, Gibson was cleared for Tuesday and will draw his first turn since July 18 after throwing a bullpen session over the weekend. The No. 22 overall pick of the 2009 draft was roughed up in his last outing, giving up six runs on nine hits over 6 1/3 innings to fall to 1-2 with a 6.91 ERA in July. Gibson allowed a run in 6 1/3 frames in a win versus the Royals on April 11 and is 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA in two all-time starts against them.

Shields returned to form following an uneven outing on July 18 in Boston, holding the White Sox to one run on six hits in seven frames in a no-decision during Wednesday’s 2-1 win. The 2011 All-Star notched his third quality start in four tries, but was unable to get the victory because the Royals didn’t score the go-ahead run until the ninth inning. Shields has posted a 4.22 ERA en route to dropping both of his 2014 turns versus the Twins, but is 7-5 with a 4.21 ERA across 17 career starts against them.

WALK-OFFS

1. Shields can become the seventh active pitcher with eight or more seasons of double-digit victories with a win in the opener.

2. Minnesota 1B Joe Mauer (strained right oblique), who has been on the disabled list since July 2, is expected to begin a rehabilitation assignment as early as this weekend.

3. The Royals lead the AL with 84 steals, recording 18 over their last 19 games.

PREDICTION: Royals 4, Twins 2



Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Minnesota 47-57 W1 24-29 23-28 13-15 20-18 8-15 6-9
Kansas City 53-51 L1 25-26 28-25 14-12 23-24 8-11 8-4
Last Meeting
Minnesota Kansas City
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/2/14 KC 4 MIN 0 .133 0 .345 .250 1 .730
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Minnesota K. Suzuki .344 11 .900
Kansas City A. Escobar .448 13 1.242
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Minnesota B. Dozier 1 5 2
Kansas City A. Escobar 1 7 6
Pitching ERA Avg K
Minnesota 3.08 .257 43
Kansas City 3.62 .256 72
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Minnesota K. Suzuki .309 93 .759
Kansas City S. Perez .281 102 .749
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Minnesota B. Dozier 19 72 47
Kansas City M. Moustakas 13 30 40
Pitching ERA Avg K
Minnesota 4.34 .244 638
Kansas City 3.73 .263 748