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Kansas City Royals starting pitcher James Shields walks off the field after getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the third inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians Monday, June 17, 2013, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

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Sunday Insider: Central Intelligence

  • June 23, 2013 - 9:16 AM

Don’t be too quick to judge the James Shields trade a failure, just because the righthander is 2-6 for the Royals. Shields leads the American League in quality starts with 13 and has a 2.71 ERA. The problem? In seven of those 13 starts, the Royals have scored two runs or less.

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The White Sox’s fall to last place has been tough on their biggest booster.

“It’s been hell on me,” broadcaster Ken “Hawk” Harrelson told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I’ve said fewer words in a 68-game period than I ever have in my career. Because it’s been [horrible] baseball.”

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There could be another Triple Crown in Detroit, and this one isn’t Miguel Cabrera’s.

The Tigers lead the AL in hitting (.281), are second in pitching (3.62 ERA) and third in fielding percentage (.990). Only once since 1948 — the 2001 Mariners — has a team managed to lead its league in all three.

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Cleveland righthander Justin Masterson is third in the AL in strikeouts (110), but that’s not his predominant method of retiring hitters. Masterson has induced more ground balls, 170, than any AL pitcher, though many turn into hits.

“When I make a good pitch and a ball goes through,” he said, “I have the confidence to get the next guy.”

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