James Shields admitted that it felt a little weird when he stepped on the mound for Kansas City on Tuesday night, peered into the batter’s box and saw a former Rays teammate standing at the plate.
After allowing a two-run homer to Matt Joyce in the first, Shields only allowed three more hits over the next six innings. That kept the Royals in the game long enough for Mike Moustakas to hit a go-ahead two-run homer and spur Kansas City to an 8-2 victory over Tampa Bay in the series opener.
Kansas City has been looking for a legitimate No. 1 starter for years, and finally made the bold decision in December to acquire Shields and fellow right hander Wade Davis from Tampa Bay for a package of prospects that included minor league player of the year Wil Myers. The Rays’ career leader in just about every significant pitching category, Shields (2-2) hasn’t done anything to disappoint his new organization. He lost 1-0 to the White Sox on opening day, tossed a complete game in a 3-2 loss to Toronto, and has gone at least six innings in every start.
The Royals and Rays are back at it tonight (Wednesday) as Luis Mendoza is on the mound for Kansas City, and he’ll face off with Rays right hander Jeremy Hellickson. First pitch is schedule for 7:10 p.m. at Kauffman Stadium.