Today the Tampa Bay Rays faced former Ray pitcher James Shield. As every fan knows, Shields has been part of the Rays organization for 12 years and leads many of the pitching records for the team. He (along with pitcher Wade Davis and infielder Elliot Johnson) was traded during the off-season for several prospects, including power-hitter Wil Myers. Before today’s game, several Rays’ players, coaches, and reporters spent time catching up with Shields.
- Desmond Jennings CF
- Matt Joyce LF
- Ben Zobrist RF
- Evan Longoria 3B
- James Loney 1B
- Yunel Escobar SS
- Luke Scott DH
- Jose Molina C
- Ryan Roberts 2B
- Alex Cobb P
- Alex Gordon LF
- Alcides Escobar SS
- Billy Butler DH
- Eric Hosmer 1B
- Lorenzo Cain CF
- Mike Moustakas 3B
- Jeff Francoeur RF
- Salvaador Perez C
- Elliot Johnson 2B
- James Shields P
Due to Cobb and Shields both being amazing pitchers, the game was expected to be a low-scoring game. To the surprise of many, the Rays quickly took the lead in the 1st inning. Lead-off hitter Desmond Jennings singled and then Matt Joyce hit a 2-run homerun, making it 2-0. Ben Zobrist flied out, Evan Longoria walked, and James Loney doubled to make it two-on, one-out, but Yunel Escobar and Luke Scott both struck out to end the inning. In the bottom of the 1st, Alex Cobb allowed only one hit to Billy Butler.
The Royals had a small threat in the bottom of the 2nd when there were two men on with two outs, but Cobb was able to get Elliot Johnson to fly out to left field. The Royals almost scored a run in the 5th inning when Johnson singled with two outs. Johnson stole 2nd then moved to 3rd on a wild pitch by Cobb. Luckily, Cobb struck out Alex Gordon.
In the 6th, Cobb was able to get Alcides Escobar and Billy Butler to ground out, but he allowed Eric Hosmer to double, Lorenzo Cain to single, and Mike Moustakas to homer, making it 3-2 in favor of the Royals. The Royals weren’t done – Jeff Francoeur doubled and Salvador Perez singled, making it 4-2. After allowing six straight hits with 2 outs, Cobb was replaced by Jamey Wright who was able to get Gordon to ground out. The Royals continued to score runs in the 7th inning while the Rays (pitching, defense, offense) all fell apart. With Brandon Gomes pitching in the 7th, Alcides Escobar singled and stole a base. Gomes struck out Butler and intentionally walked Eric Hosmer and then the Rays’ defense fell apart. Lorenzo Cain singled to center field – though three players were capable of catching the ball, none of them did. When Jeff Francoeur was batting, Cain stole 2nd base and Hosmer scored by a throwing error by catcher Jose Molina. Jeff Francoeur triples, making it 7-2.
In the top of the 8th, James Shields is replaced by Kelvin Herrera. Matt Joyce is the only player to make it to 1st – the Rays’ poor offense once again makes its appearance. When the Royals were batting, Cesar Ramos became the new pitcher and walked Elliot Johnson. Johnson ends up scoring a run after a single and two sac-flies. In the 9th, Loney leads off with a single and makes to third when Escobar singles and gets thrown out at second. With Loney on third with one out, Scott flies out to center and Molina strikes out – Rays lose 8-2. What was supposed to be an exciting pitching match between Alex Cobb and James Shields ended up being an embarrassing Rays’ loss.
- Alex Cobb entered the game with 10 wins since August 1, 2012 – tied for the most in MLB in that span.
- With Matt Joye’s home run today, that is a team-record tying 15 straight games with a homer for the Rays (record was set in 2009).
- Since Matt Joyce’s hit lead-off on Friday, he’s homered three times in four games, and has six RBI over that stretch
- James Shields’ wife and parents came to the game today – they must be in a good mood.
- With Luke Scott being called up, Shelley Duncan was sent down to the minors.
- 9 out of 14 games the Rays have lost after having the lead.
Around the League:
- On Monday, the New York Yankees lost to the Houston Astros for the first time since 2003. Former Ray Carlos Pena had 1 RBI and 1 Run in that game for the Astros.
- Kevin Youkilis is back on the DL for his sore back.
- Another slow start for the Los Angeles Angels may mean coach Michael Scioscia may be out of a job.
Before the Tampa Bay Rays played the Kansas City Royals, David Price was at the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City to receive his Bullet Rogan “Pitcher of the Year” Award. Charles Wilber “Bullet” Rogan was an American pitcher for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro baseball leagues from 1920-1938. He was considered one of the best (if not the best) pitcher in the Negro League. When Rogan wasn’t pitching, he was playing the outfield and hitting home runs. After receiving the award, Price toured the museum with first base coach George Hendrick, pitching coach Jim Hickey, and hitting coach Derek Shelton.
For the first time since James Shields entered Major League Baseball he will not be wearing a Tampa Bay Devil Rays uniform or a
Tampa Bay Rays uniform because he was traded to the Kansas City Royals on December 9, 2012. The trade is not very surprising since the Rays cannot afford to keep Shields, who was due $10 million in 2013. Meanwhile the Royals are hoping that Shields will be the ace they have been lacking since Zack Greinke was traded. Shields will always be remembered as one of the Rays’ best pitchers in its short history.
Shields was drafted in the 16th round of the 2000 amateur baseball draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. After spending several years in the minors, he debuted in the majors against the Baltimore Orioles on May 31, 2006. Though Shields only lasted five innings and gave up five run, Shields would quickly become the Rays’ ace pitcher. A month after his first start, Shields became the first Rays pitcher to start his career with four straight wins. In 2007, Shields became a number two pitcher, second only to Scott Kazmir. He finished the year with an ERA of 3.85 and over 200 innings pitched, a trend he would continue for the next five years. In 2008, Shields was the only Rays pitcher to win a World Series game. The year 2011 was Shields’ most impressive year; he pitched 249 innings, 11 complete games, 4 shutouts, had an ERA of 2.82, and a record of 16-12. Big Game Shields was now known as Complete Game Shields. In 2011, Shields was selected to the All-Star game and finished third in the American League Cy Young voting. In 2012, Shields felt the pressure of being traded and did not perform at his best until after the trading deadline. The last game Shields pitched was on October 2, 2012 against the Baltimore Orioles. Though the Rays lost the game 1-0, Shields pitched a complete game and had 15 strikeouts.
Besides great pitching, Rays also know that Shields has a big personality. Rays’ fans will always remember Shields fighting Boston Red Sox centerfielder Coco Crisp. In 2008, Crisp was caught stealing by Rays’ shortstop Jason Bartlett. Several innings later, Crisp intentionally slid hard into second baseman Akinori Iwamura. The next day, Shields purposely threw a pitch at Crisp, causing Crisp to charge the mound. Shields swung back at Crisp; though he missed Crisp’s face, he was suspended for six games. Shields stated that the reason he purposely threw a ball at Crisp was to defend his teammate. Shield showed that he is a dependable player that can be counted on. Shields also became a role model to the younger Rays’ pitchers, including David Price. The two of them would soon become inseparable; it became a common sight seeing Shields throw peanut shells at Price during a television interview. When Shields would be interviewed, Price would stroll over and start answering questions. Shields was also active in the Tampa Bay community. At the beginning of the baseball season, he would purchase a suite at Tropicana Field and let different groups of foster kids watch baseball throughout the year. Shields also worked with his wife to help pair parents with foster children; he is responsible for creating families. Not only will Shields’ loyalty and humor be missed in the Rays’ dugout, but his contributions to countless families will always be remembered.
James Shields leaves behind seven memorable years with the Rays, ranging from fights with rival teams to throwing peanut shells at his pitching coach. He also leaves behind a legacy since he is the all-time leader in wins, shutouts, complete games, strikeouts, and innings pitched. His pranks with Price during baseball games will be missed by Rays’ fans as well as his contributions to the Tampa Bay community. Shields will be a great addition the Royals since he is a great player both on and off the field.