White Sox Starter James Shields first two starts in the Silver and Black have been abysmal. He has a 16.71 ERA through seven innings with the White Sox. He has been booed out of U.S. Cellular Field after exiting each time.
While Sox fans are furious with the first two starts of James Shields career on the South Side. It is very unlikely that he keeps performing at this awful pace. Shields is not going to be the same pitcher that he was a couple of years ago. He is not going to be pitching this awful all year either.
Shields pitched well in his five April starts. Although he didn’t win a game, according to ESPN his ERA (3.55) and Homerun totals (4) were respectable. It helped that he was pitching in the National League, and didn’t face an offensive lineup in an offensive ballpark. If had Shields been pitching for a better team than the San Diego Padres, he might have had a better record than 0-4.
Shields pitched well over his next five starts. He went 2-2 and his ERA dropped from 3.55 to 3.06. He was also eating innings. Shields lasted at least six innings in all of his starts until that point.
The bottom fell out in his next start,against Seattle. Shields did not make it out of the third inning. He lasted 2.2 innings, gave up eight hits and 10 ER. His ERA spiked from 3.06 to 4.28. That was his final start with the Padres.
His first start with the White Sox, was a disaster. Shields went two innings, allowing eight hits, and seven earned runs at US Cellular Field against Washington. That start caused concern that Shields could not pitch against American League competition.
Shields didn’t do anything to alleviate those concerns last night against Detroit. The Tigers belted out nine hits over five innings, scoring seven runs (six earned).
There may be a silver lining to all of this. A tweet from three time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez might make sense of all of this. Martinez noticed that Shields is having some issues with his delivery. This could answer why he has tanked so quickly.
Its doubtful he will be as good as he was in San Diego for multiple reasons. A swap of leagues and ballparks shouldn’t make this much of a difference.
Shields is not going to be this bad all year long. He is not a front line starter any more. He can still put together starts when he eats innings and keeps the White Sox in the ballgame. These are the numbers of a rookie ball pitcher, not a veteran innings eater. So if you are concerned about Shields, take a deep breath and relax White Sox fans.