As the second half of the season kicks off, I’m going to switch my Yankee coverage up a little bit. Instead of On Deck previews of each game (during the work week) I’ll pick one player on the opposing team and give you some stats and a little scouting report. Up first, James Shields, the Tampa Bay starter for tonight’s game.
Season stats: 7 wins, 4 losses, 129.2 IP, 114 hits, 19 bbs, 116 Ks, 1.03 WHIP, .232 BA/against, 3.82 ERA.
Scouting: Shields is a fastball/change-up pitcher. He uses his breaking balls less than 15% of the time. He turned the corner this year and supplanted Scott Kazmir as the D-Ray ace. His WHIP (1.03) and Ks/9 (8.05) are very impressive. His ERA was inflated by three consecutive bad starts in June. If Shields can throw his change for quality strikes, he’s exactly the type of pitcher who could give the Yanks problems. A great change neutralizes hitters’ counts. Sometimes the best thing to do is jump on the first fast ball you see. Shields has impeccable control, allowing only 1.32 walks/9 innings.
History: The Yanks beat Shields three times last year, but he’s been a much different pitcher this season.
Rays blog-of-the-day: Rays of Light