Tag:James Shields
Posted on: June 16, 2011 4:52 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 5:55 pm
 

On Deck: Can Holliday help end Cards' slide?



By C. Trent Rosecrans

There may only be four night games tonight, but there's still plenty of entertaining storylines to follow in those four games.

Holliday just in time: Matt Holliday returns from the disabled list just in time to try to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Nationals and to help the Cardinals try to end a five-game slide. You think adding a guy hitting .342/.433/.542 with six homers in 44 games will help? I do. Since Holliday went on the DL, the Cardinals have fallen out of first place in the NL Central. Meanwhile, the Nationals have won their last five and with the Marlins' loss to the Phillies, the Nationals aren't in last place. They need to win to keep it that way. Cardinals at Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET (Follow live scoring)

Giant sweep: Hoping to take over first place from San Francisco, the Diamondbacks welcomed the Giants, but now they're just looking to take a game from the defending champs. To do so, they'll have to solve the most surprising player of the season, Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong. The San Francisco right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.81 ERA this season and has an ERA of just 0.99 in his last seven starts. Giants at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. ET (Follow live scoring)

Trading shutouts: In the first game of the Red Sox-Rays series, James Shields shut out the Red Sox. On Wednesday, Josh Beckett shut out the Rays. Thursday night's matchup features two pitchers more than capable of shutting down any lineup -- Tampa Bay's David Price (7-5, 3.51 ERA) and Clay Buchholz (5-3, 3.59). Red Sox at Rays, 7:10 p.m. ET (Follow live scoring)

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Posted on: June 15, 2011 1:35 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Big Game James



By Matt Snyder

James Shields, Rays. Since Shields threw a shutout on May 22, he was 0-2 with a 6.50 ERA in his next three starts. Sure, two of them weren't awful and one was -- skewing the small sample numbers a bit -- but he wasn't throwing the ball near as well as he was earlier in the season. His task Tuesday night was to face the now-mighty Red Sox, who entered the game with a nine-game winning streak -- one in which they'd averaged about nine runs per game. After a shaky first, where Shields left the bases loaded, he settled in and threw a complete-game shutout. The victory moved the Rays to within 3 1/2 games of the Red Sox. Shields has already set the Rays record with three shutouts in a season and is the fastest to three shutouts in the AL since Randy Johnson and David Cone in 1994.

Domonic Brown, Phillies. The Phillies slugged five home runs en route to a 9-1 victory of the disappearing Marlins, but the highlight was Brown's upper tank shot in the seventh. It was not only majestic, but also his second blast of the game. As too many long-time members of the lineup get closer to being too old, the 23-year-old outfielder provides a glimpse into the future.

Johnny Cueto, Reds. As the Reds creep closer to the NL Central leaders -- we'll get to them in a moment -- they can definitely start to feel very confident when one member of the rotation gets the ball each turn. Cueto has now thrown 14 consecutive innings without having allowed an earned run and his ERA has shrunk to 1.68 through eight starts and 53 2/3 innings. Coming out and giving an effort like Tuesday night's -- seven innings, five hits, five strikeouts, zero earned runs -- against Clayton Kershaw is the stuff aces are made of.

Also: Don't forget to give props to Justin Verlander for shutting out the Indians and moving the Tigers into first place. It's just that it's not really surprising anymore.




Alexi Ogando, Rangers. So much for that sparkling ERA, WHIP and undefeated record. Ogando entered Tuesday with a 7-0 record, 2.10 ERA and MLB-best 0.898 WHIP. He couldn't even get out of the second Tuesday, though. The Yankees tuned him up for six earned runs on six hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings. This came after a 1-2-3 first inning, too. Ogando now has a 12.38 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in Yankee Stadium this season. Everywhere else? 1.68 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. Fortunately for him and the Rangers, this will be his last outing in the Bronx this season -- well, unless he has to pitch there in the playoffs. If it comes to that, they'll surely find a way to avoid throwing him in his house of horrors.

Hanley Ramirez, Marlins. The DL-stint may have cured his back, but it didn't do much to alter the path this disaster of a season has taken for the star shortstop. Ramirez returned to the lineup in the leadoff spot and proceeded to go 0-4 with two strikeouts. Granted it wasn't exactly an easy matchup against a locked-in Cole Hamels, but it certainly wasn't encouraging for Ramirez, either.

Brewers', Cardinals' bullpens. As the two teams fight for the top of the NL Central, they seem to be going out of their way to blow late leads. Tuesday, they each coughed up leads against sub-par teams. The Cardinals held a 6-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh against the Nationals. Miguel Batista, Trever Miller and Jason Motte combined to allow five hits, three walks, a hit-by-pitch and six earned runs. Yes, that was all in one inning. Most of the damage was allowed by Batista, but Miller hit the only guy he faced and Motte let two inherited runners cross home plate. Not to be outdone, Marco Estrada of the Brewers gave up three runs in the bottom of the eighth to the Cubs. The big blow was an Aramis Ramirez two-run home run, which tied the score at four and eventually sent the game to extra innings. In the 10th, Tim Dillard allowed a Tony Campana double, a sacrifice and a Starlin Castro single to lose the game. The Brewers have now lost two in a row to the Cubs. The Cardinals have lost four straight. They're tied atop the Central, though the Reds and Pirates are in striking distance. Meltdowns like Tuesday are the reason no one has pulled away.

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Posted on: June 2, 2011 5:38 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 7:22 pm
 

On Deck: Cy Young candidates battle

On Deck

By Evan Brunell
ShieldsHernandezBEST MATCHUP: "King" Felix Hernandez, last season's CY Young Award winner, takes the mound Thursday night against James Shields, who could very well walk away with this year's Cy Young. Shields has been excellent all season in a regression to the mean from his unlucky 2010 season. The Ray is now 5-2 with a 2.15 ERA and has a plum matchup against a decrepit offense. But Hernandez is obviously no slouch and has kept up his status as one of (if not the) game's best pitchers with a 3.19 ERA. Seattle is one game over .500 thanks to the work of the pitching staff. The Mariners are looking to avoid dropping three games behind the first-place Yankees and two games behind the Red Sox on a day when both New York and Boston are off. Rays at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. ET

RAngersIndiansFIRST PLACE BATTLE: The Indians and Rangers are both in first place, and the four-game series that's beginning between the two could have division implications. The Tigers have been playing well as of late and could be sniffing at Cleveland's heels if the Indians lose the series. Beginning Friday, the Tigers will face the White Sox, who are coming off a sweep of the Red Sox and looking to get back into the race themselves. Conversely, the Mariners are only 1 1/2 games behind the Rangers, with the Angels two back and Oakland three. That's a slim margin of error for Texas. Even a series split could have ramifications depending on the play of the other teams involved. David Bush will make a spot start for Texas -- his third of the year -- while Carlos Carrasco aims to keep his ERA under 5.00 after finally dropping it to 4.97 last time out against the Rays. Rangers at Indians, 7:05 p.m. ET

PenceLOSING RECORDS: Bud Norris and Tim Stauffer both have losing records for the Astros and Padres, respectively, but that's because their teams have each lost over 30 games. Norris and Stauffer have actually been among their team's best pitchers, with Norris' breakout year checking in with a 3.76 ERA, 73 punchouts in 67 innings and just 25 walks. Despite a 3.60 ERA, Stauffer only recently earned his first victory of the year. With the series in San Diego, it's crucial for Hunter Pence (pictured) to keep swinging the way he has for Houston. His bat propelled the Astros to their first road sweep of the year, which they completed Wednesday with a victory over the Cubs. In the midst of a 13-game hitting streak, Pence's average has jumped almost 40 points to .317, but he has a career .117 mark at Petco Park. Astros at Padres, 10:05 p.m. ET

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Posted on: May 28, 2011 11:10 am
Edited on: May 28, 2011 7:26 pm
 

On Deck: Last chance for Weaver

OD

By Matt Snyder


Full slate of games Saturday, as there are on every Saturday, starting with the Pirates-Cubs and Padres-Nationals at 1:05 p.m. ET. Let's dive in.

Last chance: It's been a tale of two months for Jered Weaver of the Angels. He left April 6-0 with a 0.99 ERA. In May, he's 0-4 with a 4.35 ERA. He hasn't been awful -- three of his six outings were quality starts and last time out he allowed just one run in seven innings -- but he's been worse and gotten little run support. Saturday, he'll take the ball for the last time in May and he's looking to avoid going winless in month No. 2 after winning every single game in month No. 1. Fortunately for Weaver, his opponent is the punchless Twins, who are dead last in runs scored in the entire MLB and last in the AL in on-base percentage. Meanwhile, scheduled Twins starter Francisco Liriano has been scratched and the Twins will instead run Anthony Swarzak out there in his place. Swarzak is 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA and this is only his second start of the season. Basically, things look good for Weaver, but he still has to produce. Los Angeles (AL) at Minnesota, 7:10 p.m. ET.  WATCH LIVE SCORING

Tall order for Tribe: For the second time this season, the Indians have lost three straight games. A loss Saturday would mean the longest losing streak of the season for the Tribe -- who have been the best team and best story of the young 2011 season. Last time they lost three games in a row, they followed it up with seven consecutive victories. If they plan to start a similar streak, it's a tall order Saturday against the Rays. Toeing the rubber for the Rays will be James Shields, he of the 2.00 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 73 strikeouts, three complete games and two shutouts. The Indians did see Shields earlier this month, and he held them to two runs in seven innings in a 7-4 Rays win. Considering the Indians have only scored four runs in the past three games, breaking the losing streak won't be easy. Cleveland at Tampa Bay, 4:10 p.m. ET.  FINAL BOX SCORE

Red hot Red Sox: Remember how all the naysayers wanted to bury the Red Sox several times early in the season? Well, they're 15-4 in their past 19 games and are now in sole possession of first place in the AL East for the first time. In their current four-game winning streak, they've outscored opponents 38-8. It's been a team effort from top to bottom, but Carl Crawford's emergence as, well, Carl Crawford has been a huge boost for the offense. His numbers for the week so far: 11-19 (.579 average), two doubles, two triples, three home runs, eight RBI, nine runs and a 1.987 OPS. Attempting to slow him and the rest of the hot Red Sox offense will be Andrew Oliver of the Tigers, who is 0-4 with a 7.36 ERA in five career starts. This will be his first since July 18 of last season, too. Boston at Detroit, 7:10 p.m. ET. WATCH LIVE SCORING

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Posted on: May 22, 2011 11:06 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Wakefield gets it done

Tim Wakefield

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Tim Wakefield, Red Sox -- Not much seems to be expected out of the old knuckleballer anymore, but he certainly delivered on Sunday night, allowing just one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings against the Cubs, picking up his 194th career victory and first of the season. The only run the Cubs scored in the 5-1 Boston victory was by Starlin Castro, who led off the seventh with a double. Wakefield was already pitching professionally in the Pirates' system in 1990 when Castro was born.

James Shields, Rays -- Shields notched his second shutout and third complete game of the season, leading Tampa to a 4-0 victory over the Marlins. Shields' three-hitter included a career-high 13 strikeouts and stopped the Rays' three-game losing streak. Shields has been a boon to the Rays' bullpen, going past the seventh inning for the ninth time in his 10 starts this season -- and it was the eighth time he's gone at least seven innings while allowing two runs or less. Shields is now 5-2 with a 2.00 ERA. He has 73 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings pitch, while walking just 15. His WHIP stands at 0.93 and batters are hitting just .205 against him.

Torii Hunter, Angels -- Angels hit his first home run since April 21 -- a two-run shot in the fourth -- and followed it up with the quote of the night when asked if he remembered that one. "I can't remember that far back," Hunter said. "I haven't seen one in a while. I've seen them on TV, I've seen them in the movies, but it's a lot of fun to get one out of the way this month." His last home run was 99 at-bats ago. He has five this season.


Tim Collins, Royals -- Collins had a difficult task -- coming into the game in the 10th inning with bases loaded and no outs with Lance Berkman at the plate -- but the way he gave up the lead was disappointing. Collins got Berkman to pop up, but then walked the next two batters -- Colby Rasmus and Yadier Molina  -- giving the Cardinals a two-run lead. Blake Wood came in to get the next two batters and Kansas City managed a run in the bottom of the 10th, but it wasn't enough to overcome the two free passes. It was a fitting way to decide the game, as Royals pitchers walked 13 Cardinals.

Brian Fuentes, Athletics -- The A's fill-in closer leads the majors in losses by a reliever (6) and has three losses in the last five days, including two against the Giants. On Sunday, Fuentes gave up two hits and walked a batter, as Darren Ford scored from second on Emmanuel Burriss' single. Said Fuentes: "I'm just not making pitches. There wasn't really anything that happened that wasn't my fault." Give him credit for taking credit for his struggles at least.

National League East -- All five NL East teams lost on Sunday -- the Phillies lost to the Rangers, the Marlins lost to the Rays, the Mets to the Yankees, the Nationals lost to the Orioles and the Angels beat the Braves. The five teams combined for just five runs -- three of those accounted for by the Mets in a 9-3 loss in the Subway Series. The division went 7-8 in their interleague matchups this weekend, with the Phillies and Marlins winning their series and the other three teams losing their series.

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Posted on: May 17, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2011 6:02 pm
 

On Deck: Oswalt faces Garcia in 'rehab start'



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Roy OswaltROY RETURNS: Roy Oswalt's start is being labeled a "rehab start" even though it's in the big leagues and he'll be limited to 60-65 pitches, but the Phillies have to be glad he's back, even in a limited engagement. That said, Roy could've gotten a better draw in his return, facing St. Louis' Jaime Garcia, who may be pitching better than anyone else in the National League. Garcia is 5-0 with a 1.89 ERA. Oswalt left the team after April 26 after tornadoes hit his homes in Mississippi, but when he returned his lower back was still bothering him, so he went on the DL. Phillies at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET (Watch live)

WIN NEEDED: The Yankees have lost six games in a row and have created more off-the-field  headlines than on-field headlines of late. Jorge Posada, apparently, is sorry both on and off the field for his first month of the season. If you're the Yankees and you've lost six games in a row and are wrapping up a series against the division leaders, who else would you want on the mound other than Ivan Nova (3-3, 4.70 ERA)? Nova gave up eight runs and 10 hits against the Royals in his last start, so he should have no trouble against "Big Game" James Shields (4-1, 2.08) and the Rays, right? Well, Shields is 3-8 with a 4.91 ERA in his career against the Yankees, so there's that. Yankees at Rays, 6:40 p.m. ET (Watch live)

TwinsWIN NEEDED II: You think losing six games is bad? Try nine. That's where the Twins' are, losing their last nine games. Oh, and Felix Hernandez is on the mound with an extra day's rest. King Felix hasn't exactly been royal of late, but even at his worst, he's still an imposing figure on the mound. Meanwhile, Francisco Liriano left his last start after just three innings with flu-like symptoms which included trouble breathing and allowing four runs. But he's won his last three games against the Mariners, so there's that. Twins at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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Posted on: May 1, 2011 1:43 am
Edited on: May 1, 2011 1:51 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Shields, Halladay baffle batters

Shields

By Evan Brunell

3 UP

James Shields, Rays -- Shields delivered a dominating performance and may be on the way back towards being an ace. However, Shields is an inconsistent player, so we'll have to see how he performs more. Still, he twirled a beautiful start against the Angels, going eight strong with an eyebrow-raising 12 strikeouts against one walk, six hits and an earned run. He combined to strike out the first three batters of the game six times, holding them to 1 for 13 with a walk. This game pushes Shields' ERA down to 2.14.

Roy Halladay, Phillies -- What else do you expect? Halladay rivaled Shields for best pitching performance as he pitched a complete game seven-hitter, allowing a walk and punching eight out. The Mets -- especially Jason Bay in an 0-for-4 night with three whiffs -- were helpless as Philly squeaked out a 2-1 victory. That offense is starting to run a little cold in Philadelphia, who were lifted by reserve outfielder John Mayberry Jr.'s first home run of the year plus a sac fly by Placido Polanco. Carlos Beltran did have two hits, continuing a nice return from knee problems.

Michael Brantley, Indians -- The league's best hitting performance that also directly won the game for Cleveland by Brantley, who sparked the team to victory by first tying the game at two-all in the sixth by ripping a solo home run and then scoring the winning run on an Orlando Cabrera single. All in all, the leadoff man who was playing center as Grady Sizemore took a breather, stepped up to the plate with a 3-for-6 night (so did Cabrera), scoring those two runs and driving in himself on the homer to edge the Tigers 3-2. Top Indians pitching prospect Alex White got throw his start by throwing six innings and allowing just two runs despite coughing up four walks and six hits -- two home runs -- and whiffing four.

3 DOWN

Matt Thornton, White Sox -- Ozzie Guillen must be furious. In his house, that is, as he was suspended two games for his comments about the umpiring earlier in the week and then tweeting about it. Matt Thornton was called in by bench coach Joey Cora to keep the ChiSox in the game as they trailed 2-1 in the eighth. Phil Humber had a two-run, seven-inning start, calling into question whether he should be demoted when Jake Peavy returns. Against the Orioles, Thornton went as such: single, stolen base, strikeout plus Pierzynski error allowing a run to score and batter to reach, single, wild pitch, walk, infield RBI single, sacrifice fly, and -- that was it for Thornton as Jerry Gray sandwiched two outs around a hit by pitch. Not a good day at the park for Chicago's closer at the beginning of the season who has already lost his job.

Red Sox offense -- What can the Red Sox offense do for you? Well, it can mount a seven-hit attack on Doug Fister, walk six times, and ... leave 11 men on base in a 2-0 defeat. Awesome. David Ortiz want 0-for-4 with two whiffs, coming up in a key situation that could have changed the complexion of the game. The Red Sox left the bases loaded in the first (yes, really) and fourth, with Jacoby Ellsbury ending the threat in the fourth by getting doubled off second in a mistake. Oh, and no Mariners game is complete without a Milton Bradley ejection. The mercurial outfielder delivered a RBI double in the second to send Seattle up 1-0 then argued with the second base umpire about a play in which Miguel Olivo grounded to first and got the heave-ho. Skipper Eric Wedge was in the process of leaving the field after mounting his own complaint, but he didn't get tossed.

Kyle Drabek, Blue Jays -- Drabek got a little lesson in humility Saturday night, lasting just 2 1/3 innings. Drabek has been a bit up and down in his first full major-league season, but was still doing decently enough. Now his ERA rests at 4.45 after giving up five runs on seven hits, four walks and four strikeouts against the Yankees. He was dinked to death, but those runs count and can be even more deflating than a single big blow. You can attribute giving up a grand slam to one misplaced pitch, but you can't justify any of your stuff when everything is being rifled. Oddly enough, no Yank had more than one hit, but everyone did sans Derek Jeter (all together: when will he be demoted to No. 8 in the lineup? -- hey, look a reunion of the top two in the order from last season... at the bottom).

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Posted on: April 20, 2011 1:47 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 4/19: Shields goes distance

By Matt Snyder

There really wasn't enough room here tonight with lots of really good and really bad performances throughout the baseball world. Apologies to Brett Anderson, the Orioles, the Braves, Randy Wolf and a host of others who brought it.

As for those who were spared, it was a long list, too. Among them: Tigers' pitchers, Paul Maholm, Hideki Okajima and Mother Nature.

It's just that we only have three spots in this subjective endeavor.

3UP

James Shields, Rays. He said after the game it had "been a long time," which was true -- as Shields hadn't thrown a complete game since June of 2008. That's exactly what he did Tuesday against the White Sox, netting his first win of the year. He struck out nine while only allowing four hits and an earned run. He's actually been dominant at home so far, sporting a 1.54 ERA in three starts -- adding 20 strikeouts.

Ryan Roberts, Diamondbacks. The 30-year-old utility man is making it impossible for Kirk Gibson to leave him out of the lineup. After going 2-3 with two home runs, two runs and three RBI in a 5-4 win at Cincinnati, Roberts raised his season average to .382 with four home runs, 10 RBI and seven runs in just 39 plate apperances. His on-base percentage is .462.

Angels' offense. Mark Trumbo went 3-5 with a double, home run, two runs and four RBI. Peter Bourjos went 4-5 with a double, home run, three runs and three RBI. The team as a whole battered the Rangers' pitching staff for 15 runs on 15 hits and drew six walks. Meanwhile, the Angels have now won 10 of 13 games and have tied the once red-hot Rangers for first in the AL West. Oh, and the cherry on top? Vernon Wells went 2-5 with a double. He's now hit safely in his past six games. He's also seven for his last 17 (.412) with two doubles and a triple.

3DOWN


Carl Pavano, Twins. I guess we aren't going to have any middle ground here. Pavano is either stellar (16 innings, one earned run in his two good starts) or awful (8 2/3 innings, 14 earned runs in his two bad starts). Tuesday it was the Orioles' offense inflating their stats against Pavano, knocking him around for eight hits and seven runs in 4 2/3 frames.

Kenley Jansen and Ramon Troncoso, Dodgers. The Dodgers entered the top of the ninth with some hope of winning the game. It was only 2-1 Braves. Sure, flamethrower Craig Kimbrel was awaiting the lower part of the order for the bottom half, but you never know. It was only one run. Well, then Jansen and Troncoso happened. Here's how the top of the ninth read, play-by-play: walk, home run, walk, fly out, single, single, homer, double, single, single, single ... and, mercifully, double play to end it. All told, that's eight runs on eight hits and two walks. There was a wild pitch in there. And the hits weren't cheap. Everything was hit hard. Freddie Freeman's double was of the ground-rule variety. Frankly, I'm glad it ended when it did, because it was getting uncomfortable to watch.

Adam Dunn, White Sox. There's no way of knowing if there is a correlation between Dunn's struggles and coming back very quickly from an appendectomy. But after Shields made him look pretty dumb Tuesday night (0-4 with three strikeouts), Dunn is now 2-23 with 14 strikeouts since making his return.

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