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!



  1. Joe says:

    When did Shields pick up such a money pick off move? What a game. Good job returning from that disappointing 1st game, boys, now go play the Twins as the last series without Longoria.

  2. Connie says:

    One thing I noticed this year is that Shields doesn't stick his butt out as much as he did last year. Wonder if he fixed his mechanics and that is involved somehow.

    • Joe says:

      That's just another part of it, he is very compact in his delivery this season where as last season, he had body parts going all over the place. The worst being his whole body going towards 3B, of course.

  3. pete says:

    This resurgence is totally because of his mechanics. He was great in start 1 vs the orioles and this spring. then he got out of whack in game 2 and since then has fixed the over rotation he had vs the white sox. right now you dont even need to look at the pitch , you can focus on his motion and know if he is on or not.

    it's a great thing to see. arguably this guy has the best change in baseball and right now he is just filthy. one thing i have come to expect from shields is that he is getting to the 7th inning and will eat innings and those guys are valuable to a contending team. the james shields of this past week is way more then the bulldog type #3 starter that i expected.

    i can think of very few good pitchers that have not had some very poor years at the major league level and this guy was never "finished" like many of us rays fans thought.


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