Tampa Bay will see a familiar face on the mound when the Rays open a series with the Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday.
Kansas City ace James Shields will pitch against his former team for the first time since he was traded in the offseason.
“Obviously, it’s going to be a little different, but I’m going to treat it the same as I always have,” Shields said. “I’m going to go out there and compete and try to win a ballgame.
“It’s going to be a little chess game out there. They know me, I know them.”
Since becoming the Royals’ No. 1 starter, Shields has pitched quite well, recording a quality start in four of his five games.
In his last outing, the 31-year-old righty held the Tigers to three earned runs on five hits and three walks, while striking out four in eight innings. Shields retired the last 10 batters he faced.
“In those situations, he ups his game,” manager Ned Yost said. “The deeper he gets in those situations, the tougher he gets.”
Opposing Shields will be Alex Cobb, who was one of the reasons the Rays had the luxury of trading one of their best arms.
Cobb has pitched extremely well since taking over as Tampa Bay’s fifth man in the rotation, supporting a tidy 1.82 ERA, and his last outing was probably his best.