The Indians open a huge series tonight in Kansas City, as they sit just a half game back of both wild card spots.  If the Indians do well this series, they can do their part to help bury the Royals even further back in the standings.  They can also find themselves in a great position since the two teams in front of them, the Rays and the Rangers, start a series against each other tonight.  While they’re beating up on each other, the Indians could leap frog into first for one of the wild card spots.

Tonight, Scott Kazmir takes on James Shields, a rematch of the September 11 game between the two teams in Cleveland.  Shields was incredible – allowing two earned runs in the first inning, and then not allowing another hit until the ninth inning.  Kazmir also had a rough first inning, but settled down before running into trouble (and pulled) in the top of the fifth inning.

Some of the Indians that have had success against Shields this season: Mike Aviles .333/.385/.417 (13 plate appearances), Michael Bourn .364/.462/.364 (13 PA), Carlos Santana .455/.538/.818 (13 PA), Michael Brantley .333/.333/.333 (12 PA), and Jason Giambi .500/.667/.500 (3 PA).  There are a number of players hitless against Shields this season – Lonnie Chisenhall, Yan Gomes, Ryan Raburn, and Nick Swisher.

Some of the Royals that have had success against Kazmir this season: I actually started to write these down after I looked it up, but the scary thing was that there were lots of Royals with very good numbers against Kazmir.  Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, and Billy Butler are all hitting over .300 against him (Hosmer is hitting .417).   There were only a few that didn’t have incredible numbers, so maybe I should just mention them instead.  David Lough is hitless against Kazmir this year, as is Johnny Giavotella.  Salvador Perez is hitting just .143.

Shields is a very tough pitcher, so the Indians need a good night from Kazmir.  They can’t spot the Royals too many runs in this one, because they may not be able to get them back.

Use this thread to chat about the game!