Yost says Shields is almost certain to start ALCS Game 1

After winning the ALDS clincher, James Shields figures to start Game 1 of the ALCS on normal rest.

Peter Aiken/Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Royals manager Ned Yost isn’t sure how his rotation will be set up, and he isn’t sure how much he’ll tinker with the 25-man roster for the American League Championship Series against Baltimore.

But he does know, almost for certain, who his Game 1 starter will be: James Shields.

"Friday is Shields’ fifth day, so I imagine he starts Game 1," a tired-looking Yost said Monday afternoon. "We haven’t had an opportunity to discuss it, but I’m almost positive James will start Game 1."

The 25-man roster used against the Los Angeles Angels likely will be altered for the ALCS.

"Yeah, there are a lot of things to go over," Yost said. "The Angels had just one lefty in the bullpen and Baltimore has three.

"Moose (Mike Moustakas) is swinging the bat really well. Left-handers are not giving him as much trouble so we ask, ‘Can we get by without the extra infielder to protect him?’

"We took 11 pitchers in the five-game series. There is the question now whether we need 12. But then that would affect the number of position players we keep. It’s all up in the air."

But Yost also has a couple of other certainties. He said he won’t mess with his batting order, the one he inserted several weeks ago to jump-start the offense.

"It’s worked," he said. "No reason to change anything there."

And after a brief scare with right-hander Kelvin Herrera, who had an MRI last week after suffering a flexor strain in his forearm, Yost knows he will have the front end of his bullpen Big Three (Herrera-Wade Davis-Greg Holland) fully healthy.

Herrera overpowered the Angels in one inning of work Sunday, hitting 101 mph on the radar gun.

"He was great," Yost said. "When he walked off the mound (in Anaheim) we weren’t really that concerned, but we had him get the MRI anyway. Normally, when you have that type of (flexor) strain the MRI will show a bunch of fluid. But there was no fluid showing up.


"I think what happened, and I’m not a doctor, but we played that tremendous (Wild Card) game, got on a plane, got in late (to Anaheim), had an early workout the next day and it was really hot. Then it was hot the next day, too.  So, I think it was more of a cramp than anything else.

"He came back (after the MRI) and felt pretty good. We sent him to the pen (Saturday) and he was phenomenal. And he had all kinds of velocity Sunday, and that’s good for us that he’ll be ready."

Yost, who rarely shows emotion, even was seen screaming "Bam!" after Davis got a strikeout for the final out of the eighth inning.

"I think I went ‘Bam!’ five or six times," Yost said. "You try to not get emotional, but then you start counting outs at the end of the game and each time you kind of go ‘Bam!’ with each out."

You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at jeffreyflanagan6@gmail.com.