Shields Faces Tough Debut Against Scherzer

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With Shields backing them up, the White Sox coaching staff won’t feel as much pressure to pitch Sale and Quintana deep into games.

James Shields will make his White Sox Debut at 35th and Shields tonight against Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals. Shields posted a 2-7 record and a 4.84 ERA in San Diego this season. His ERA ballooned from 3.06 after allowing 10 runs on eight hits and two walks in 2.2 innings in his last start.

Shields has been steady over 11 career starts at U.S. Cellular Field. His last start at the Cell was in 2014 with the Royals. He is 4-1 with a 3.00 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP and a 2.24 K/IP. These are encouraging signs amidst widespread concerns that he won’t be able to make the transition from the Padres’ pitcher friendly Petco Park to the Cell which is far more advantageous to hitters.

Shields splits against the Nationals are not nearly as stout. In three career starts against Washington he has a hefty 6.00 ERA and 1.81 WHIP.

Scherzer has owned the White Sox in 23 career starts against the Southsiders.  He is 12-6 with a 2.54 ERA. He has a 1.02 WHIP, 4.54 K/BB ratio and a 9.5 K/9 while allowing only a .218 career batting average against.

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At US Cellular, Scherzer’s stats drop-off significantly. In 12 career starts there he is 5-5 with a 4.09 ERA over 77 innings.

Shields presence will take a lot of pressure off of the starting rotation. According to ESPN, the White Sox are sixth in MLB in starter innings pitched. Chris Sale currently ranks fourth and Jose Quitana 22nd in innings pitched this year. Sale is averaging 7.08 innings per start and Quintana 6.33.

Next: Options After The Shields Trade

This will be second the career meeting between Shields and Scherzer . Scherzer out-dueled Shields in 2013 as a member of Detroit while Shields was in Tampa Bay.

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