Padres Editorial: How Will James Shields Fare in the NL West?

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Arizona Diamondbacks

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Shields has made only two starts against the Diamondbacks. One wasn’t so bad, while the other was very bad. Neither of the starts tell us all that much because the last time he faced the D-Backs was in 2007 with Chad Tracy, Eric Byrnes and our friend Carlos Quentin doing a lot of the damage. What we can glean from this is his numbers in his one start at Chase Field.

Over the course of his contract, Shields will definitely get a few more chances to pitch in the desert, but his first act didn’t go so well. The intense heat in Arizona helps the ball carry at Chase Field and carry it did in his one appearance there. Byrnes and Tracy both took him deep in his short five-inning outing where gave up 6 runs.

Hopefully now eight years removed from that start, Shields will perform a little better his next time there. He is a much better pitcher now than he was back then, so we can expect at least somewhat better results.

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This was the only time I strayed from’s depth charts. I swapped out Tuffy Gosewisch for Gerald Laird and Yasmany Tomas for Cliff Pennington. The signing of Gerald Laird isn’t official yet and while he might win the job over Gosewisch, I figured it’s more beneficial to look at the numbers of a guy who has faced Shields rather than put in a guy who hasn’t. There’s similar logic for Tomas and Pennington, but also because they had Tomas as the starting third baseman which seems unlikely considering his primarily an outfielder.

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Due to the fact that the Diamondbacks lineup is so young, and the fact Shields hasn’t faced them in the past seven seasons, he doesn’t have a lot of experience against many of them. In small sample sizes he has dominated Laird, Pennington and Trumbo, who’ve gone a combined 2-for-23 against Shields with those two hits only being singles.

The only guy with a meaningful sample size, Aaron Hill, has killed him. Hill got familiar with Shields back when they were division rivals in his Blue Jay days. He’s one of only six players  to hit four or more home runs off Shields. He’s accompanied by his former Blue Jay teammates Adam Lind and Jose Bautista who have hit five off Shields, as well as Robinson Cano, Justin Morneau and Hideki Matsui. They haven’t faced off since 2011, so hopefully when they meet again we’ll see a little different results.