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How did James Shields fare in what was likely his last Royals start?

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The often praised and short time Royal did well in his final appearance

Elsa

James Shields made likely his final appearance in a Royals uniform last night. The line overall was good and for the old school baseball fans it was a quality start. He allowed two runs on eight hits over six innings with four strikeouts to one walk. But before he shuffles off this Royals coil, we can enjoy the final start he gave us absent the games outcome.

Shields worked mostly down in the zone to the Giants hitters.

The eight hits he did allow were all singles and a good many were well hit balls by the Giants battered who made contact on outside pitches.

Giants hitters seemed to be aggressive against Shields. You'll notice many first and second pitch events there, and some of the singles he allowed were a good amount outside the zone.

This aggression though also paid off for Shields as it resulted in Shields having the highest swinging strike rate of any starting pitcher in a game this post season:

Date Pitcher Swing Strike %
10/26/2014 James Shields 21.27%
10/4/2014 Zack Greinke 20.38%
10/2/2014 Max Scherzer 17.34%
10/3/2014 Kevin Gausman 16.36%
10/3/2014 Adam Wainwright 15.68%

This didn't show up in the strikeout tally, but the Giants are one of the bottom 10 contact teams in baseball yet they were able to touch him up for 8 hits with a few coming on hard to hit balls.

I initially was worried about Shields velocity after the first inning, but on second glance he was right around his 2014 average.

Inning FF Avg Velo
1st 93.2
2nd 94.2
3rd 93.3
4th 93.0
5th 91.8
6th 92.3

The noticeable drop in velocity came with some loss of command in the final two innings as well.

We probably won't see Shields again this post season, but maybe Yost would bring him in relief if a game 7 were to happen Wednesday. That would be on short rest, but you wouldn't be asking him to throw for more than an inning or so and you probably won't have to worry about any long term damage given his impending joining of another team. College coaches certainly show no shyness either.

If this truly was the final time we've seen Shields pitch for the Royals it will bring an end to a successful pitcher and short run.

From 2013-2014, Shields has been the 13th best pitcher by fWAR and the 8th best by RA9 WAR.

Name Team IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA FIP xFIP WAR
Clayton Kershaw Dodgers 434.1 9.76 1.72 0.41 1.8 2.12 2.51 13.8
Felix Hernandez Mariners 440.1 9.48 1.88 0.63 2.55 2.58 2.58 12
Max Scherzer Tigers 434.2 10.19 2.46 0.75 3.02 2.79 3.14 12
Adam Wainwright Cardinals 468.2 7.64 1.63 0.48 2.67 2.71 3.06 10.9
Chris Sale White Sox 388.1 10.06 1.97 0.83 2.67 2.91 2.9 10.6
David Price - - - 435 8.73 1.34 0.85 3.29 2.88 2.98 10.5
Jon Lester - - - 433 8.25 2.39 0.73 3.1 3.19 3.49 10.4
Corey Kluber Indians 383 9.52 1.97 0.68 2.98 2.71 2.77 10.1
Yu Darvish Rangers 354 11.67 3.28 0.99 2.92 3.1 2.89 9.1
Jose Quintana White Sox 400.1 7.69 2.43 0.74 3.42 3.31 3.62 9
Jordan Zimmermann Nationals 413 7.47 1.5 0.7 2.96 3.03 3.3 8.8
Justin Verlander Tigers 424.1 7.97 2.97 0.78 3.99 3.5 3.92 8.5
James Shields Royals 455.2 7.43 2.21 0.85 3.18 3.53 3.64 8.2
Cole Hamels Phillies 424.2 8.48 2.31 0.74 3.05 3.17 3.33 7.9
Stephen Strasburg Nationals 398 9.79 2.24 0.88 3.08 3.07 2.83 7.6
Phil Hughes - - - 355.1 7.78 1.47 1.01 4.2 3.41 3.68 7.4
Hiroki Kuroda Yankees 400.1 6.65 1.75 0.9 3.51 3.58 3.57 7.3
Madison Bumgarner Giants 418.2 8.99 2.26 0.77 2.88 3.05 3.15 7.2
Hisashi Iwakuma Mariners 398.2 7.65 1.42 1.02 3.05 3.36 3.08 7.2

Name Team RA9-WAR
Clayton Kershaw Dodgers 16.7
Adam Wainwright Cardinals 12.5
Felix Hernandez Mariners 12.4
Chris Sale White Sox 11.6
Max Scherzer Tigers 11.5
Yu Darvish Rangers 10.3
James Shields Royals 9.9
Hisashi Iwakuma Mariners 9.9
Jon Lester - - - 9.7

Shields might be remembered by his inconsistency for the Royals during this post season, but he was excellent down the stretch for the Royals before the playoffs began. A key part of how the Royals found themselves in the post season he finished September with a 2.31 ERA, 2.59 FIP, and a 7.71 K/9 1.03 BB/9.