Wow. Joe never expected Jeff Niemann to lay a big Easter egg thus far this season. And frankly, Joe never expected the return of Big Game Shields.
If Big Game Shields continues to pitch like he has lately, we can all put his old nasty moniker away.
Last year, Shields was No Game Shields, a perfectly average if not below average pitcher who had an ugly habit of giving up home runs. The way Shields pitched today, that No Game Shields image is a distant memory.
Dude was throwing some filthy pitches today. His trademark change-up was dancing. The Blue Jays were humbled, even Jose Bautista. The Jays only mustered four hits.
But even in the ninth, when most times starters are on fumes, Shields not only was strong but crafty. Picking off Bautista at first was sweet. Most pitchers wouldn’t dare try that, risking a bad throw or mishap fielding the ball and allowing a runner at second with the tying run at the plate.
Zorilla hit his second homer in as many days as Merlot Joe Maddon’s precise matchup with Zorilla batting third paid off well.
Though the Rays offense was rather impotent today, if the Rays continue to get pitching the way they have this series (Hellboy should have had a win Friday, David Price was wicked yesterday) the Rays won’t need much offense.
Only Kyle Farnsworth came out of the pen the past two games with a day off tomorrow, the bullpen should be well-rested.
Welcome back Big Game!