Aug 9, 2011, 9:30 PM EDT
James Shields beat the Royals 4-0 in one hour, 53 minutes on Tuesday night, notching his fourth shutout of the season.
The six-hitter was the fastest nine-inning contest in Rays franchise history.
It was also Shields’ major league-best eighth complete game of the year. Roy Halladay is second with six, while Lee is the only other pitcher with five.
Of course, this year is shaping up as a banner year for shutouts. Shields and Holland have already matched the high total for an AL starter since 2000. Lee has matched the high total for any pitcher the last 20 years. The last pitcher to record more than five shutouts in a season was Randy Johnson, who had six with the Mariners and Astros in 1998.
Even last season, the supposed “year of the pitcher,” saw just two AL pitchers record multiple shutouts: Dallas Braden and Carl Pavano finished with two shutouts apiece. Halladay led the majors with four.
With eight complete games, Shields also has a pretty good shot at becoming the first pitcher to reach double figures since Johnson finished with 12 in 1999.
- HBT Daily: In which I waffle on my World Series pick 0
- Must-click link: surviving spring training on $0 a day 43
- Your Official HardballTalk World Series Preview 22
- World Series Reset: Game 1 — finally! — is tonight 19
- HBT Daily: How the Royals and Giants were built 4
- Two radio stations in San Francisco are refusing to play Lorde’s “Royals” during the World Series 40
- Royals tab James Shields, Yordano Ventura to start first two games of World Series 1
- Brian Roberts is retiring 13
- So, if you’re not a fan of the Royals or Giants, who ya got? (119)
- Pedro Martinez has some opinions about who the new “face of baseball” is (107)
- “The Kansas City Royals Are the Future of Baseball” — someone actually said that. (93)
- Andrew Friedman leaving the Rays to take over as Dodgers President of Baseball Operations (83)
- Quit making a big deal out of anomalies. Most of what happens is meaningless. (82)