Both Oakland A’s manger Bob Melvin and Royals manager Ned Yost agree that tonight’s one game wild card between these teams will be low scoring.  The A’s are sending out their mid-season pick up and post season ace Jon Lester to the mound while the Royals will counter with James “Big Game” Shields.

Bob Melvin on what Lester brings to the A’s

Both pitchers were brought in for this exact reason.  To advance their teams in the playoffs.

Ned Yost has deep respect for Lester

Let’s break down the numbers of each pitcher’s starts against the opposing team.

Shields has faced Oakland twice, back on Aug. 3 and Aug. 14.  The Royals won both games (4-2 and 7-3).  Shields gave up just two runs, both solo homers, over eight innings while striking out two in his first start against the A’s.  11 days later, Oakland was a little more aggressive at the plate and scored three runs over seven hits over six innings.  Shields got a no-decision in that win.

In the playoffs, Shields is 2-4 with a 4.98 ERA in six starts.  He’s allowed four homers while striking out 25 in 34.1 playoff innings.

Shields knows the impact this game will have on the city and fans of the Royals.

If the Royals have any advantage in this game, it may be the fact that they have faced Lester three times this season.  The bad news is that he’s won all three games.  He was magnificent while still with Boston when he tossed eight shutout innings for a 6-0 win.  He gave up four hits, while walking two and striking out eight.

After the trade, he also made two August starts with the A’s.  Two weeks later he picked up the win in an 8-3 final, but only went 6.2 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits.  Then on the 12th he went six innings allowing three runs, but he struck out nine in an 11-3 blowout win.

In the playoff, Lester is at his best.  He’s 6-4, but his ERA is only 2.11 in 13 appearances with 11 starts.