Joe is back with his post-game thoughts….

Joe continues to watch James Shields get slapped around repeatedly — again today in the 7-3 loss to the Red Sox — and can’t help but wonder whether Sheilds is just the innings-eating, very hittable starter he was back in 2009 and 2010.

A peek and the stats, and Shields is pretty much the same guy he was back then minus the incessant long balls. Though watching him, he’s clearly much more mature on the mound.

But Joe’s not seeing where the fix is going to come with Shields. His velocity is there. He seems to still have nearly all the poise and maturity he showed last season. Teams have simply figured him out, and even a staunch optimist should have trouble projecting how Shields is going to right his season over his final 14 or so starts.

For Joe, the Sheilds dropoff is a huge hurdle to overcome to make the playoffs. Even if the bats come alive and fulfill every fan’s 2012 fantasy, they need Shields to stop throwing batting practice.

Ben Zobrist used to be a good baserunner, too, but that’s a rant for another day.

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9 Comments

  1. Michael says:

    Shields has extremely high BABIP. Like, catastrophically high.

    I think this is a combination of becoming a groundball machine overnight, plus the totally inferior Rays infield in 2012.. bad combo.

    If Longo and Brignac were there, he might have a full run less on his ERA

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  2. Allen says:

    Rays are 1-2 since the all-star break so Rob’s prediction of a 1-5 2nd half beginning remains secure. Go Rays!

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    • Dave L says:

      And why are we rooting for that pray tell?

      Just curious?

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      • ALLEN says:

        Dave, we're not rooting for Rob's prediction of a 1-5 2nd half beginning. We're keeping track of a prediction, hoping it will not be fulfilled. What we're rooting for is a resurrection of the Rays strong starting pitching, consistently high performance on defense, timely hitting and a drastic reduction in offensive strike outs.

        Maybe Joyce's back problems are related to playing on the turf at the Trop.

        Go Rays!

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        • Rob says:

          I hope I am wrong, but I think Cleveland puts it on the Rays this week. I would also like to adjust my prediction - I didn't realize this was a 4-game series. The Rays will be 2-5 after 7.

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  3. phil says:

    They are playing cleveland ..should get some wins so...... no 1-5 start!

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  4. Drew says:

    100% agree we should have traded him. Even if his ERA was 3.00 right now I would still say the same thing. Would have saved over $7mil this season to throw at a better FA than Pena or Scott and addressed other (more important) positional needs.

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  5. s says:

    Walk, walk, walk, strikeout. Exactly what I’ve been screaming about for the entire season. It takes 4 walks to score a run. Stop letting the umpires control the games. We are destined to fail. This goes back to little league. The umpire will only allow “taking pitches” to go so far.

    Don’t believe me? Wonder why the strike zone was sooooo big in a couple of those games this weekend? Let’s look at one of Zobrist’s AB. Ball, ball, ball, strike(looking), questionable strike(looking), strike(looking). Are you kidding me? 7 pitches and NEVER took the bat off of his shoulder, is this really an MLB player? And he had the balls to bitch at the f-ing umpire. Little league at bat, little league treatment by umpire, and I don’t blame the umps in the least. Zobrist is a farce.

    We lead the AL in K’s and are second in BB’s. We are last in the league in AB’s, Why? Because we leave it up to the umpires, and then bitch when questionable calls don’t go our way. This is pathetic baseball, put the damn ball in play, nobody want to watch this crap.

    FIRE Shelton. Maddon said at this level, a batting coach doesn’t really do much. Then fire his ass and make a statement to the fans and players. This has to change, and I might could buy into that on most MLB teams. My question is, at what level does a batting coach matter? Because we actually field a bunch of minor league talent, so I would think that the batting coach could/should have a lot of influence with our players, yet we are horrible.

    Once again Joe, back to your statement. We fired Henderson AFTER going to the World Series and also setting team records for runs, home runs, on-base percentage and walks. HUH? FIRE DEREK SHELTON!!!

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  6. Rob says:

    Would just like to point out that Ruggiano is batting .378 with an OPS of 1.169 in 90 ABs with 6HR and 17RBI. Under Shelton in 2011 he batted .248 with an OPS of .673 in 105 ABs with 4HR and 13RBI. The difference? Different team, different coach. And it's not like he just hit 27 and is in his prime. He is 30.

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