As we near the halfway point of the season, the Rays appear to have one lock for the American League All-Star squad, James Shields. There is just one small problem. Shields won’t be able to pitch in the game.
Based on how the rotation is set right now, Shields’ last start before the All-Star break would come on Sunday, the final day of the first half. And if that happens, by rule, Shields can’t pitch in the All-Star game. That’s a tough break. But it happens.
What is interesting is that the Rays don’t even seem to want to concede that things could change (via Marc Topkin).
“[Sunday] appears to be his day as of right now,” Maddon said…”The Rays are much more important…We have set this thing up for a while.”
Hey, Maddon is absolutely right. We don’t want the Rays messing with the rotation just so Shields can pitch 1-2 innings in the mid-summer classic.
But since when have the Rays ever had anything set this far in advance? If this team has a Modus Operandi, it is that they never make decisions on anything until they absolutely have to. So it seems a little weird that they would have the rotation set in stone more than two weeks in advance.
Would the Rays be upset if their ace couldn’t pitch in the game? No. Would the Rays make a subtle tweak to the rotation to make sure Shields doesn’t add to his season pitch total in a meaningless game? Would you be shocked if they did?