Game #41 Preview: Shields provides tall task for Rockies

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockies begin a two game series tonight in Kansas City.

The Rockies have only played two series in Kansas City in franchise history. The last was in 2010 when they lost two out of three, and before that was in 2008 when they swept a three game series from the Royals.

A win tonight would be impressive. A Franklin Morales vs. James Shields match up on the road is arguable the most unfavorable game on paper the Rockies have played this year.

Shields presents multiple problems for opponents. The most obvious is his 2.70 ERA and his streak of allowing two earned runs or less in seven of his last eight starts, but there's also the length Shields goes into games. Big Game James, as he is affectionately known, has thrown at least 101 pitches in all of his starts so far this season. Combine that with the Rockies aggressive offense and Colorado is unlikely to get him out of the game before the seventh inning.

Even if they do however, the Royals have three very dangerous arms waiting in the pen in Greg Holland, Kelvin Herrera, and Wade Davis. In short, if the Rockies are going to win this game, it's likely going to be in a low scoring affair - Unless Shield has an uncharacteristic off night.

The Rockies will have Franklin Morales on the mound who has now allowed four or more runs in each of his last three starts after putting together a decent stretch of games in the middle of April. The good news for him is that the Royals offense has been an absolute disaster.

There's not a single player on Kansas City's roster with more than three plate appearances with an OPS over .800. They've hit just 16 home runs in 37 games as a team, and at home they have just five. Additionally, the Royals were forced to put starting second baseman Omar Infante on the DL this afternoon. If there was ever a lineup Morales should have success against, it would be this one.

Today's Lineups

C. Blackmon - CF Norichika Aoki - RF
Corey Dickerson - DH Eric Hosmer - 1B
Troy Tulowitzki - SS Billy Butler - DH
Carlos Gonzalez - LF Salvador Perez - C
Nolan Arenado - 3B Alex Gordon - LF
Justin Morneau - 1B Danny Valencia - 3B
Brandon Barnes - RF J. Giavotella - 2B
Jordan Pacheco - C Lorenzo Cain - CF
DJ LeMahieu - 2B Alcides Escobar - SS
Franklin Morales - LHP James Shields - RHP
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