White Sox veteran pitcher coming off worst season of his career wants to prove to fans he can still perform at high level. Can he pitch a solid season on the South Side in 2017?
The Chicago White Sox traded for James Shields last June in a move they hoped would provide durability to its starting rotation. Unfortunately for both Shields and the Sox, his 2016 season was a disaster.
Shields posted his worst win-loss record at 6-19 and ERA of 6.77. This led to one of the worst seasons by a Sox starting pitcher in a long time. With the upcoming season on the horizon, can Shields revert back to the pitcher he once was? Shields believes he can according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
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According to Sullivan, Shields would like to prove to Sox fans that he’s still the pitcher he was when he faced them as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals. In 22 starts against the Sox, Shields owns a 6-5 record with a 3.42 ERA.
The Sox will enter this upcoming season with a pitching rotation consisting of Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon, Derek Holland and Miguel Gonzalez. Shields could most likely be the fifth starter this season. If this is the case, he could very well become a solid starter for the Sox. However, he will need to have better results similar to some good starts he had last season.
"“I have nothing to prove, man. Nothing to prove. I think my career speaks for itself. I definitely want to prove to the Chicago White Sox fans who I really am, when I was facing them. But there’s no doubt about it. I’m a competitor. I want to go out and compete this year and do well.” James Shields"
Sox pitching coach Don Cooper mentioned to Sullivan he looks at 2016 as an aberration for Shields and that he’s hoping for a fresh start for the veteran pitcher. It would be an added bonus to the Sox if Shields is able to pitch effectively this upcoming season.
The Sox won’t enter this upcoming season with the expectations of contending, but this doesn’t mean Shields shouldn’t do his best to be an effective pitcher for the team. If Shields is able to pitch consistently better than last season, the Sox will be in much better shape.