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Five things we learned from the Kansas City Royals’ 2013 season

The 2013 season was a good one for the Kansas City Royals. The team finished with a 86-76 record, the first winning season for the franchise since 2003 when they went 83-79. They finished the year seven games out of first in the AL Central and 5.5 games out of the last AL wild card spot. While their success didn’t translate into a postseason berth, there was plenty to build on and much to look forward to in 2014. Here are five takeaways from Kansas City’s season:

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1 - The Royals Found An Ace

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The Royals acquired James Shields prior to the 2013 season with hopes that he would lead a pitching staff that has struggled with consistency over the past few years. Most of all though, the Royals front office decided that the team needed a true number one starter, someone who could be counted on in big games and could match up against other number one starters. "Big game James" didn't disappoint. He finished the season with a 13-9 record, a 3.15 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. He went 9-3 over the second half of the season. Most importantly, though, Shields took the ball every fifth day, pitching 228.2 innings this season. It was the seventh time in Shields' career that he pitched over 200 innings. It was the first time that the Royals had a 200+ inning starter since 2010 when Zack Greinke pitched 220 innings. It's a nice luxury for Kansas City to know they have a dominant starting pitcher that they can count on in 2014.

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