Making official what was expected, manager Ned Yost announced the Royals’ rotation for the World Series.
Game 1: James Shields
Game 2: Yordano Ventura
Game 3: Jeremy Guthrie
Game 4: Jason Vargas
That’s the same alignment the Royals used in the ALCS, when they swept the Orioles in four games.
Royals starters have a 3.80 ERA this postseason, but Shields has allowed 10 runs in three starts compared to the other three pitchers allowing a combined nine runs in five starts.
Here are the lineups for Game 1 of the World Series, in Kansas City:
CF Gregor Blanco
2B Joe Panik
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
RF Hunter Pence
1B Brandon Belt
DH Michael Morse
LF Travis Ishikawa
SS Brandon Crawford
SP Madison Bumgarner
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Giants manager Bruce Bochy is sticking with career first baseman Travis Ishikawa in left field while using longtime outfielder Michael Morse at designated hitter. Morse was one of the Giants’ best hitters during the regular season before being limited by an oblique injury, so his addition could prove big.
SS Alcides Escobar
RF Norichika Aoki
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Billy Butler
LF Alex Gordon
C Salvador Perez
2B Omar Infante
3B Mike Moustakas
SP James Shields
Standard lineup for manager Ned Yost and the Royals, who’ve yet to make a change during the playoffs. They’ve also yet to lose, of course. James Shields starts after passing a kidney stone during the ALCS.
Shoulder problems limited Royals prospect Kyle Zimmer to just five innings in the minors this season and now the No. 5 overall pick in the 2012 draft has re-injured his shoulder trying to make up for those lost innings in the Arizona Fall League.
Jackson Alexander of MLB.com reports that Zimmer exited his Saturday start after just one inning, with assistant general manager J.J. Picollo explaining that “he had some soreness in his shoulder and rather than let him pitch through it we just took him out of the game.”
Picollo added that “more than likely” Zimmer will be shut down for the remainder of the Arizona Fall League, which is a tough break because he’d just racked up 11 strikeouts in five innings during a previous start.
Zimmer came into this season as a top-25 prospect according to Baseball America and MLB.com.
Mark Appel had a weird season, as the former No. 1 overall pick was awful at Single-A with a 9.74 ERA in 12 starts and then made headlines over the weird quasi-controversy of him throwing a bullpen session in Houston.
However, he finished the season pitching well at Double-A and has been fantastic in the Arizona Fall League.
Appel threw five shutout innings in an AFL start Monday, giving him a streak of 12 straight scoreless innings in an environment where hitters almost always dominate and the league’s overall batting average often approaches .300.
His stock has certainly dropped since going first overall in 2013–one spot ahead of Cubs prospect Kris Bryant, the consensus minor league player of the year–but Appel figures to begin next season at Double-A and Triple-A and could be a factor for the Astros by the All-Star break.
Kansas City has made one change to the World Series roster, adding Jayson Nix and subtracting Christian Colon.
Colon is a 24-year-old rookie who debuted in July, whereas Nix is a 31-year-old veteran of seven seasons and eight teams. Nix is a career .212 hitter with a .627 OPS in 466 games as a big leaguer.
Nix will likely fill the same little-used utility man role that Colon did, basically serving as the emergency option at various positions if manager Ned Yost decides to make a whole bunch of late-inning moves.