Blog Entry

Shields implodes in fourth as Rays fall

Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:47 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 10:49 pm

By Evan Brunell

James Shields was among the best pitchers in baseball all year, and entered Saturday having posted a 2.82 ERA on the season. He also had the honor of being the first pitcher since Roger Clemens in 1992 to record 11 complete games and four shutouts in a season, but it was all for naught on Saturday. Shields was rocked for seven runs in five-plus innings, with the big blow coming in a five-run fourth.

Shields was spot-on for much of the game, whiffing six batters in all and issuing zero walks, but imploded in the fourth inning, which was complicated by home plate umpire Kerwin Danley's blown call. Danley wasn't biting on calling the low strike, which led to some close calls and forced Shields to elevate his pitches right into the heart of the strike zone. But he began the fourth with a surprising loss of control, plunking Elvis Andrus with a pitch.

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Josh Hamilton and Michael Young then both singled to load the bases. Shields then plunked yet another batter, this time Adrian Beltre. That forced in a run and got Rangers fans going, who had so far been silenced by Shields and staring at a 3-0 hole after Derek Holland began the game with his own jitters. Shields was able to strike out Nelson Cruz, but then came the blown call by Kerwin Danley, which was enough to land Danley as the goat of the game. David Murphy hit a ball straight down at home plate and Danley called it foul before the play was even over. The ball bounced fair, allowing Kelly Shoppach to pounce on it and throw Murphy out.. except the play had already been ruled dead. Murphy went on to strike out, but it was in the process of Shields throwing a wild pitch, so Murphy reached while Beltre scored. A RBI groundout by Mitch Moreland followed before Shields finally got to walk off the mound after inducing a flyout by Ian Kinsler.

It looked like Shields was getting back on track with a clean fifth inning, but two consecutive singles to open the inning sent Shields to the showers. Texas would go on to score twice in the inning, both runs charged to the righty. It was certainly a surprising performance by Shields, who began the game crisp but later unraveled at the seams.

Shields has been here before. Last season, he faced the Rangers in Game 2 of the ALDS as well, and served up four runs in 4 1/3 innings. In that game, Shields' big inning came in the fifth when he allowed a three-run homer to Michael Young and later an Ian Kinsler RBI grounder before his night ended.

Shields lasted longer than he did in 2010, but unfortunately the end result was the same: An ALDS Game 2 loss.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 20, 2011 9:26 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 18, 2011 1:55 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 4:30 pm

Shields implodes in fourth as Rays fall

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Since: Feb 8, 2009
Posted on: October 2, 2011 12:00 am

Shields implodes in fourth as Rays fall

Honestly the bad calls by the ump really rattled Shields. But the ump was bad for both sides so I guess it doesn't matter. But I agree with jellyfinger we have the technology to get the balls and strikes called correctly, I would support this.

Since: Feb 11, 2010
Posted on: October 1, 2011 11:22 pm

Shields implodes in fourth as Rays fall

Shields did implode, but the heinous home plate ump made it a lot worse than it should have been. Strike zone jumped all over the place for both teams.  Early 4th inning Shields peppered the strike zone and couldn't get a call. Then Murphy hits a bleeder in front of home plate and the ump called it foul without even looking at the ball!! 2 more runs scored due to that awful call.  

We have technology that can make ball/strike calls consistent. I think it's just a matter of time, hopefully sooner than later.

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