Posted: Sep 16, 2013 5:08 PM by Clayton Conness, Sports Digital Producer
Updated: Sep 16, 2013 9:16 PM
KANSAS CITY - The battle for the two American League Wild Card spots is heating up with a matchup featuring two desperate teams tonight. The Royals and Indians are both on the outside looking in at the final position and will clash at Kauffman Stadium tonight at 7:10.
Taking the hill for The Boys in Blue will be right-hander James Shields, who picked up a win against the Tribe last week in a series-deciding victory. He has a 3.38 ERA and carries an 11-9 record through the 2013 season. His opposition is Cleveland's Scott Kazmir. The left-handed Kazmir brings an even 8-8 mark to the table along with an ERA north of four.
The Royals have recently been sparked by the hitting of left fielder Alex Gordon. Over the course of the last 10 games, he has hit .349 with four home runs and 10 runs scored while pushing across seven RBI's.
Similarly to Gordon's success has been the Indians' third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall. Through the month of September, he has posted a .348 average in 23 at-bats including two homers and five RBI's.
As far as making a late season push to the playoffs goes, Cleveland is dialed in while Kansas City has had its issues.
The Tribe is fresh off a four game sweep of the White Sox in Chicago that brought them within a half game of the Rangers and Rays, who are both 81-67.
The Royals, meanwhile, have had struggles as of late. They are a respectable 3-3 over their last six games, but need to produce more in the second half of September to keep their campaign rolling into October.
First baseman and designated hitter Billy Butler has been in the midst of the slump. He's hasn't left the yard since Aug. 27 and has hit just one extra base hit during that time frame, a double.
Other contenders for the wild card openings are the Orioles and Yankees, each of whom have a day off today.