By Bob Elliott
KANSAS CITY — The first thing you should know is that he acquired his nickname from a minor-league teammate, who was a hoops fan.
James Shields was named or rather nicknamed after Big Game James Worthy, a star at North Carolina, a seven-time NBA all-star and playoff MVP with the Los Angeles Lakers.
And the second thing you should know is that the Royals did not turn to Shields in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles — after Game 3 was rained out — because Shields passed a kidney stone.
Just 19 pitches into this Big Game … the first game of the 110th World Series, the first World Series played in K.C. since 1985 certainly gives it that status … Big Game had allowed the horse no name out of the barn, down the road and headed towards the river.
The Royals spent the rest of Tuesday night trying to catch up.
Royals fans waited this long for a World Series game only to see their team down 3-0 five batters in?
Gregor Blanco led off by singling on a 2-2 change up and one out later Buster Posey singled Blanco to third. Pablo Sandoval doubled into the right field corner to score Blanco while Posey was thrown out at the plate.
“I left a change up to their first hitter and then a cruve up to Sandoval,” said Shields at his locker after the game.
This is not what the fragile Royals psyche needed or wanted.
That vaunted Royals bullpen?
No leads to protect here … nothing to see as the police say at an accident … move along please.
Shields was making his fourth start this post-season start. He’d allowed four runs in five innings against the Oakland A’s; two runs in six innings to pick up the win in Game 1 over the Anaheim Angels and allowed four runs in five innings in Game 1 of the ALCS facing the Orioles.
He failed to retire a better in the fifth and left with his club down 5-0. So Shields has allowed 15 runs on 28 hits and six walks in 19 innings during four starts for a convenience-store ERA of 7.11.
Opponents are batting .346 against Shields this month.
“I made some bad pitches in some bad situations,” said Shields, after the Royals lost their first post-season game after eight straight wins (and first since Sept. 27 against the Chicago White Sox).
“The only difference was that we faced a good pitcher (Madison Bumgarner) tonight.
“We shouldn’t be down 3-0 off the start like that — I threw a couple of bad pitches. I have to bear down, keep the ball down.”
Do you see any common denominator in your starts this post-season?
“Next question,” said Shields.
After a 7-1 loss to the Giants in Game 1, the Royals have to decide whether to pitch Big Game Shields.
“Hopefully I get another chance to start,” said Shields. “We haveYordano Ventura going in Game 2. I’m sure we’ll go to San Francisco tied 1-1. We’re show a resilience this season.”
In Game: Game 1 starters (Derek Lowe, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Johnny Cueto, Lance Lynn, Justin Verlander, Edinson Volquez, Stephen Strasburg, Adam Wainwright and Shields) against Giants in 10 games going back to 2010 are 0-8, 7.25 ERA … Bumgarner attempting to become the second pitcher ever to not allow a run in each of his first three career World Series starts allowed a two-out homer to Salvador Perez in the sixth. Christy Mathewson was the only man to have zeros in his first three starts … Remember Giants Game 5 hero Travis Ishikawa who hit walk-a, walk-a, walk-off homer against Michaael Wacha? When he came to bat in the fourth with his Giants up 4-0 and men on first and second, manager Bruce Bochy sent up right-handed hitting Juan Perez, who had 17 hits this year. Bochy asked him to bunt which he did successfully. Royals reliever Danny Duffy walked the next two to force in a run.
Committed: Mississauga slugger Josh Naylor signed his letter of intent Tuesday night. He’s headed to the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock, Tex. — if he isn’t signed by a pro club next June. Naylor, along with outfielder Demi Orimoloye of Orleans, Ont., who has committed to the University of Oregon for next September, are expected to be among the top 50 high schoolers selected in the June draft. The Perfect Game Scouting Service rates Naylor 31st and Orimoloye 44th on the top 500 list. Naylor will be the first Canadian to attend Texas Tech since Windsor’sStubby Clapp.
Hale is out: Blue Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale is out of the running for the vacant Minnesota Twins managing job. Hale was interviewed by GM Terry Ryan.
Dot dots: Is it a coincidence or is there something there when the two general managers at the World Series have similar backgrounds: Giants boss Brian Sabean coached the University of Tampa to the NCAA Regional and was hired to scout for the New York Yankees … Royals GM Dayton Moore coached at George Mason University and was hired by the Atlanta Braves as a scout … One of Moore’s signs, Scott Thorman was flown in from Cambridge, Ontario to K.C. Thorman was a first round choice from Team Ontario and was signed by Paul Snyder, Brampton’s Jim Kane and Moore. This year he was a bench coach at class-A Burlington with ex-Jay infielder Nelson Liriano and will manage in the Royals system next summer.
Nice to meet you: The first time Ned Yost spoke to me was in 1992.
Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox, third base coach Jimy Williams and I were telling stories about the early Blue Jays days at the back of the coach’s office at old Municipal Stadium in West Palm Beach.
And Yost screamed:
“WILL YOU SHUT UP! … They’re going to decide who has the pole at Daytona.”
So, Cox, Williams and I moved into the quiet of Braves noisy clubhouse with such ground-breaking NASCAR news on the horizon to talk about the Exhibition Stadium era.
Yost and driver Dale Earnhardt were long-time pals.
And they were close until Earnhardt died when his No. 3 car crashed at the 2001 Daytona 500.
You might be a …: Another friend of Yost’s — farthest thing the red carpet green fly as you’ll find — is comedian Jeff Foxworthy. Foxworthy and Yost are neighbors in Georgia.
They hunt on each other’s land. Any time Foxworthy shows in K.C., he’s wearing a Royals cap and jersey, as he was at Game 1 of the 110th World Series.
So to borrow from Foxworthy …
All your wall decorations have horns on them … you might be a Redneck.
Or Directions to your house include “turn off the paved road” … you might be a Redneck.
Or for your anniversary you take your wife to dinner at the Wal-Mart snack bar … you might be a Redneck.
Or most of your family have appeared on COPS … you might be a Redneck.
So with that in mind and with apologies to Foxworthy …
Ìf you got booed during the wild card game at your home park … and you`re managing in to the World Series … your name might be Ned Yost.
If you are about to be in uniform for your seventh World Series — as many as Derek Jeter … your name might be Ned Yost.
(Yost was a back-up catcher in 1982 to Ted Simmons with the Milwaukee Brewers, was a Braves coach in 1991-92, 1995-96 and 1999 as a coach with the Atlanta and now K.C.)
If you like to ask your base runners to steal the way the way you used to snatch warm cookies fresh from oven behind your momma’s back … your name might be Ned Yost.
If your every move drives the twitter world bonkers … your name might be Ned Yost.
If you the think that bunt sign should be flashed once an inning … your name might be Ned Yost.
If when John Rocker showed at Lake Buena Vista in the spring of 2000 to apologize for his comments about foreigners, gays and New Yorkers in Sports Illustrated in December, you stood in the middle of the clubhouse and ripped Rocker’s butt to the point where the reliever was in tears … your name might be Ned Yost.
If you grew up in Hayward, Calif. and by your own estimation wore out 15 San Francisco Giant hats as a kid cheering for your idol Willie Mays and now you’re taking your team — the AL champions — into San Fran for Game 3 on Friday … your name might be Ned Yost.
If you snuck into the Oakland Alameda Coliseum, hopped the fence and hid in the bathroom until batting practice started and once obtained Vida Blue’s autograph on a dollar bill during a bullpen … your name might be Ned Yost.
If you spent the Vida Blue autographed dollar on a Colossal Dog … your name might be Ned Yost.
And if you have a good friend named Jeff Foxworthy, who would have written this a lot better than I did … your name is surely Ned Yost.
– Follow Bob Elliott on Twitter @elliottbaseball