Even though the fans might not be fond of James Shields, the White Sox have named him as the Opening Day starter.
Interestingly, the White Sox are not the only team in the AL Central that disappointed fans by announcing an unpopular Opening Day starter.
The Detroit Tigers also announced their starting pitcher for March 29. Jordan Zimmermann is the Tigers equivalent to Shields. Both are veterans who have thoroughly disappointed the fan base. It’s nice to know Sox fans aren’t the only angry ones.
The details on Opening Day pitching
Also in the AL Central, the Kansas City Royals have announced their Opening Day pitcher. They went with Danny Duffy. Shields and Duffy will face off at Kauffman Stadium on March 29 at 3:15 CT. Duffy posted a 3.81 ERA in 2017. In 24 starts, he gave up 13 home runs. His 2017 WHIP of 1.257 was the second lowest in his career.
On the flipside, Shields posted a 5.23 ERA in 2017. In his 21 starts, he gave up 27 home runs. His WHIP was 1.444.
But, Shields could have the edge this season. He has only one Spring Training start and his ERA after four innings was 2.25. Duffy has three starts and in eight innings, his ERA is a startling 9.35. However, the only good start that Duffy has had in Spring Training came against the White Sox where he gave up two hits and no runs on March 8.
Also around the AL Central
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Also around the AL Central, the Cleveland Indians have not yet announced their Opening Day starter, but the odds are good that it will be Corey Kluber. The Minnesota Twins have also been silent on their March 29 pitcher, too. Ervin Santana has had the honor for the last few seasons, but he is nursing a finger injury. So, the Twins have some new-found depth on the mound, so they could go with Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, or Lance Lynn.
Sox fans would have been happier with Carlos Rodon toeing the mound on March 29, but his injury prevented that from happening. Many would also have been more satisfied with Lucas Giolito, but the veteran status of Shields trumped the young pitcher’s chance.
Last chance for the veteran
Just a few days ago, we suggested that Shields would get the nod for the first game of the season. The rationale was that Shields was the most veteran of the pitching staff. As a White Sox pitcher, he has been quite disappointing. But, his appointment as the Opening Day starter was not to reward his stats but to close out the old guard one last time.
MLB.com’s Daniel Kramer reported on the announcement. In it, he included the fact that fellow former Royals pitcher Edison Volquez is the only other pitcher to start with four different teams. Volquez started for the Royals in 2016. He will start on March 29 for the Texas Rangers. He also shared that Shields has an ERA of 4.71 in his seven previous Opening Day starts. Hopefully, he can pitch better than that in what should be the last Opening Day start of his long career.