The Kansas City Royals hope to shake off their recent struggles and end a disastrous four-game losing streak tonight as they head to Canada for four games with the Toronto Blue Jays. Knuckleball expert R.A Dickey plans to take the mound for the Jays tonight, and ace James Shields is slated to start for Kansas City. Perhaps the most important man-on-man matchup in tonight’s game comes in the form of a recently returned Royal who has killed Dickey in the past.
Ned Yost recently told KC media he expected to play second baseman Omar Infante in at least two of four games in Toronto, and tonight’s game should definitely be one of them. Infante has two homers, two doubles and a .516 average in 31 career at-bats against Dickey. Ned will have his hands full experimenting with new lineups that include Infante and the also-just-healed Lorenzo Cain, but finding the right formula will undoubtedly make KC’s offense better.
Today’s game preview on the Royals’ official site boasts that today’s starter Shields has a 0.36 ERA in his last three starts against Toronto, but a justifiably cynical KC fanbase probably doesn’t expect a shutout from their ace today. The Blue Jays are an absolute powerhouse offensively, and Jose Bautista is especially fond of Shields’ pitching — the Toronto slugger recorded a .321/.424/.786 line and belted four homers against Shields in 28 ABs throughout his career. These matchups of Bautista/Shields and Infante/Dickey could be the decisive factors in this crucial early-season game for KC.