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 %|
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|
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.
|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|
|Jose Quintana||White Sox||400.1||7.69||2.43||0.74||3.42||3.31||3.62||9|
|Phil Hughes||- - -||355.1||7.78||1.47||1.01||4.2||3.41||3.68||7.4|
|Chris Sale||White Sox||11.6|
|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.