Diamondbacks 7, Devil Rays 4.
James Shields was roughed up in his second straight start. As has been the case all season long, Shields was susceptible to the long ball allowing two home runs. The difference in the last two starts is that the home runs came at inopportune times, early in the game and with runners on base.
We have all heard about the amazing change-up that James Shields throws. The national media has even referred to it as one of the best change-ups in baseball if not one of the best pitches in baseball. When thrown correctly and thrown to the right spot it is as nasty as it comes. The problem that Shields faces is when the pitch does not have the proper sink to it or when Shields leaves the pitch up in the zone, it is basically a batting practice fastball. He can get away with that when the bases are empty or when he is leading 5-1.
In the third inning, Chad Tracy hit a 1-1 pitch over the right-field fence to give the D-Backs a 3-0 lead. In this case, Shields got the change up in, but he left it up and when it started to sink, it ended up right in the wheel-house for a left-handed hitter. An 87 mph pitch, down and in to a lefty is a strike, but often it is a 370 foot strike down the right field line. In the fourth inning Shields just left a fastball up to Eric Byrnes when Dioner Navarro was looking for a pitch out of the zone low and away. If you slow the pitch down, you can actually see the disgust on Shields’ face before Byrnes has even finished his swing.
We are not predicting the Apocalypse for James Shields. Quite the opposite. He will be fine. All great pitchers throw bad pitches. Shields just needs to learn that a change-up with nobody on is a lot different than a change-up with 2 runners on in a scoreless game. He will learn to bear down in the more crucial situations. He will learn that if he is going to miss, he needs to miss down…not up. James Shields is a young pitcher. These are just the growing pains that we all must suffer along with him.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Regular RI commenter and fellow Deadspin Commenter Jordi Scrubbings, of The Serious Tip has tackled an even tougher task…Trying to convince baseball fans why they should love the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Reasons #1 and #4 should be good enough for most of our readers. Oh, and we are now convinced more than ever that Raymond was the only individual that ever looked good in the Rainbow Warrior jerseys. [Sports Gone South]
- Not much in this post, but the headline sums up Elijah Dukes and his influence in the Blogosphere these days.
- For example, where else would you get to read about Elijah Dukes and PacMan Jones in the same story as role models.
- Elijah Dukes has now been limited to pinch-hit duty for 9 straight games and would be in the minors if there was a team on the farm that wanted him.
- Carl Crawford is one hell of a baseball player. But a super-hero?
- The Rays have are 8-7 in their last 15 road games. Compare that to the second half of 2006 when the Rays went 3-173* on the road.
- What does a team do when they don;t have any of their titles to honor? Honor the title of the team that your “senior adviser” played for. The Rays will turn back the clock on Saturday and honor the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers’ championship.
*May have only seemed like 173 losses.