Apparently only one of James Shields's last nine starts has been a "Big Game." That's the only explanation for what is going on here. So congratulations New York Yankees on June 8th, you are the only important team James Shields has pitched against in over six weeks!
For those keeping track that start against the Yankees was the only start since May 13th in which his ERA was not higher after the game than it was before.
Shields completed just five innings tonight. In those five innings, Shields struck out five while walking just two. Of course, it took him 113 pitches to get through those five innings. And he gave up nine hits. And he allowed five runs, four of which were earned. Oh, and it took him 42 pitches to get out of the fourth inning, a brutal inning.
These abysmal meltdown innings are apparently becoming commonplace for Shields at Target Field. Maybe Ned Yost can do everyone a favor and make sure Shields doesn't face the Twins in Minnesota again.
Shields was abysmal. He is 116 2/3 innings into the season, and in the past five innings, he added another 0.14 points to his ERA which was already approaching 4.00. His ERA now sits at 3.93, with his FIP actually lowering to 4.04 on account of his 5:2 K:BB tonight and the .450 BABIP he endured tonight.
It might be time to panic in regards to James Shields.
When he exited the ballgame tonight, the Royals were down 5 - 1. Thanks to the pitching handiwork of Michael "Rule 5" Mariot and Francisely "No" Bueno and the slick-fielding of Omar Infante in an even more horrifying sixth inning, the Royals soon trailed by another five runs.
When a team loses 10 - 2, it is easy to focus on how terrible the pitching was--and it was terrible--but the offense was hilariously punchless, too. The Royals apparently thought it was Singles' Night at Target Field because they had eight of them.
One in the eighth from Danny Valencia.
Eric Hosmer had three of those singles. The rest were spread out inefficiently between the other hitters. Shockingly, when the only thing the Royals do is hit singles, the runs don't come. The one extra-base hit drove in late-inning replacement Dyson.
The worst of it all is that Ricky Nolasco, at 101 2/3 innings pitched in the season, just lowered his ERA by 0.25 points to 5.49. This was a starter the Royals should have knocked around.
This was vintage Royals. That vintage, of course, was 2002.
It's a good thing Raul Ibanez was in the lineup to see how much things have changed.
The Royals are now 4.5 games back from the first-place Tigers.