White Sox: Lose a James Shields gem to Cardinals

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 1: James Shields #33 of the Chicago White Sox delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning at Busch Stadium on May 1, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 1: James Shields #33 of the Chicago White Sox delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning at Busch Stadium on May 1, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals are a perennially tough team and the White Sox handled them well in Tuesday’s game.

Until the ninth inning, when the White Sox lost a heart-breaker to the Cardinals in a one-run game.

In typical James Shields style, he gave up a run early in the game. In the first inning, Tommy Pham (the leadoff hitter) hit a home run to left field.  But, Shields held off the Cards through his six innings of work. Pham’s hit was the only one credited to Shields, making a rare game for the guy who often gives up at least four hits per game.

In the fourth, the Sox pulled ahead. After a series of walks, stolen bases, and balls put in play, the Sox scored two runs to take the lead. They held the lead until the ninth. Bruce Rondon and Nate Jones held off the Cards in the seventh and eighth.

Then, Soria took the mound to get a save. But, it just wasn’t in the “cards” for him. He gave up a home run to Matt Carpenter and then a double to Marcel Ozuna. Then, tough-as-nails Yadier Molina hit a walk-off single that scored Ozuna.

The rest is history.

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The Sox were dominant throughout the game and Shields’ performance was encouraging. It was his best outing of the season. What was most impressive was that Shields did not walk any batters. In his first six games, he averaged about three walks per game with a season-high of five against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 11. With his performance Tuesday, he dropped his ERA from a 6.14 to a 5.35.

Interestingly, Shields wasn’t the only veteran pitcher to get a no-decision on a season-best outing. Justin Verlander threw 14 strikeouts against the New York Yankees, but Ken Giles blew the save giving up three runs in the ninth.

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While Soria has been a successful closing pitcher historically, losing games like this really hurt. It is frustrating as a fan to watch a starting pitcher perform like Sheilds did to have someone else take away the statistically proof. Games like this are the biggest reason why the “win” is such an antiquated stat.