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James Shields is ridiculous

Jun 25, 2011, 10:50 AM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays v Houston Astros Getty Images

“Big Game James” continues to dominate.

James Shields held the Astros to one run in a complete game victory last night. He allowed just three hits while striking out nine and walking just one. It was his third consecutive complete game and his MLB-leading sixth complete game of the season. It’s a pretty incredible accomplishment when you consider that the 29-year-old right-hander entered the year with five complete games over 151 career starts.

Shields actually set out to finish more games this season, but told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that he has exceeded even his highest expectations.

“I definitely didn’t think it would be this many. I was thinking three or four, something like that,” Shields said. “This is unbelievable. This is not how I expected to start, but this is exactly how I want to start. And I’m going to try and keep it going.”

Shields is now 8-4 with a 2.29 ERA and 117/28 K/BB ratio over his first 16 starts this season. Justin Verlander has essentially been ruled out to pitch in the All-Star Game, so there’s a decent chance that either Shields or Jered Weaver will start for the American League.

UPDATE: Rays manager Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that Shields is lined up to start July 10, so he will likely be ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game. So much for that idea.

  1. jhorton83 - Jun 25, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    I thought the Rays should have traded him instead of Garza this past off-season. I was wrong clearly. After years of being a mediocre pitcher, Shields is finally living up to his potential. Somehow the Rays always seem to make the right moves.

    • flpunx - Jun 25, 2011 at 11:31 AM

      I was right there with you at the end of last season. I have always loved Shields, but last season was a rough one to watch from the stands. I love Garza, but his head just gets in the way of him being a dominant pitcher. He has great K’s this year in Chicago, but a really bad record. The Rays front office deserves more credit for moves like this one, and the Kazmir/Rodriguez trade. It would be great to see the a Ray start the All Star Game for the second year in a row!

  2. Glenn - Jun 25, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    It’s a shame that the Rays just can’t keep all their stars.

    • raysfan1 - Jun 25, 2011 at 12:33 PM

      Yeah. Hopefully the Tampa Bay area’s economy rebounds, which in turn will mean more turns of the turnstiles. The Rays’ owners will pay for players if they can.

  3. yankeesgameday - Jun 25, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    Eh, it’s the astros… Didn’t that guy choose to pitch a perfect game against them in that video game contest because they are so incredibly weak at the plate? Lol.

    • raysfan1 - Jun 25, 2011 at 12:44 PM

      Only last night was the ‘Stros. Shields is 3rd in the AL in ERA, 1st in CGs, 1st in shutouts, 3rd in ERA+, and 4th in WHIP. One of those CGs happened to be 4-0 blanking of the the Red Sox–something that, while putting a smile on your face as a Yankee fan, you should acknowledge as being not so easy.

      • yankeesgameday - Jun 25, 2011 at 1:00 PM

        It was a joke. Yeesh.

      • raysfan1 - Jun 25, 2011 at 4:42 PM

        sorry that I didn’t get it, troglodyte that I am

  4. kingbuccaneer - Jun 25, 2011 at 10:23 PM

    Shieldsy BETTER be on the All-Star team. He’s been lighting EVERYONE up all year.

  5. dirtyharry1971 - Jun 26, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    Should be interesting to see what Shields has left in the tank come Sept, im expecting not so much

    • flpunx - Jun 26, 2011 at 11:16 PM

      Well, if he finishes this season like last season, so be it. At least he has started it this way. Maybe Price will shape up and he can pick up the slack. Davis finished strong last year, Hellickson is still learning, and well, ok, the 5th spot is shaky at best. However, I still think the Rays have one of the most talented and underrated starting rotations in all of baseball. They just don’t get the run support.

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