From 2006 through 2012, when James Shields was with the Rays, he was never really an overly dominant pitcher, posting a 3.89 ERA over 217 career starts with Tampa Bay. A very good pitcher, yes; but not a prototypical ace of the staff.
However, when he moved to the American League Central with the Royals in 2013, Shields took things up a notch, recording an ERA in the low three’s each of his two seasons with the Royals. Since then, though, things have gone somewhat downhill for Shields.
After not being exactly what was expected out of him for the Padres last season — he helped, but wasn’t as successful as he had been the previous couple of years — Shields was sent to the White Sox earlier this month. The change has been disastrous to this point.
In Shields’s first start with the White Sox against the Nationals, he gave up a whopping seven earned runs over just two innings pitched. Not exactly the way you want to get off with a new team.
His next start was a tad better, but still disappointing, as Shields gave up six earned runs over five innings pitched. You wouldn’t think that would continue . . . but it did.
Shields’s latest start on Saturday afternoon saw him putting up his worst outing to this point with the Sox. Lasting just 1.2 innings, Shields gave up eight earned runs, and has yet to look comfortable with Chicago, or over his last four starts (including his final one with the Padres) for that matter. In that time, Shields has given up a total of 31 runs in 11.1 innings, giving him an ERA above 23.00 in that time. The James Shields of old would appear to be nowhere in sight.
Although Shields has been good in the past, he obviously isn’t performing the way that has come to be expected over the past few weeks. While the White Sox don’t look to be heading towards any postseason glory, you know the Sox and Shields alike want to see him succeed. Only time will tell if that will happen, but Shields is far too good of a pitcher to be performing this way. Odds are he’ll turn things around soon.