Padres Editorial: James Shields Doing Everything As Advertised


When James Shields was traded to the Kansas City Royals before the start of the 2012 season, he came with a lot of expectations. He was expected to be a leader. He was expected to pitch a lot of innings. He was expected to be the missing piece to lead the Royals to the World Series. Yet, unlike some big trades that never quite worked out (Carlos Quentin, Mat Latos for Yonder Alonso and others), James Shields did all that and more.

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Now two years later, after signing a free agency contract with the San Diego Padres, the expectations aren’t much different for Shields. Can he lead his third team to the World Series since 2008 and maybe most importantly, will this be the one that wins it all?

This weekend he certainly showed that, at least in spring training, he is a pitcher that take over a game by throwing five innings of no-hit baseball. That makes us here are Friars On Base feel good.

What more do we expect of James Shields and will he be able to get it done?

Well, how about his spring training statistics so far:

Four Games Started for 12 innings

Four Hits Allowed

Three Earned Runs

16 Strikeouts

By comparison, Andrew Cashner in eight innings pitched has also only allowed five hits but only has four K’s. Tyson Ross has 12 K’s with eight hits. Earlier this spring, Shields challenged the entire staff to throw 200 innings apiece and he absolutely means it. He has done this before after all.

Sure, we here at FriarsOnBase have talked about how maybe James doesn’t actually deserve the “Big Game” moniker, because of his post-season record, but there is no doubt on how good he is in the regular season and the ability to carry his team at key moments. With Shields leading the way I have no doubt that the Padres starting pitching will be among the top three in the National League. I have no doubt that Shields should be named the Opening Day starter and why Black is waffling on this issuem I do not know.

We all thought last season would be the year Andrew Cashner would step up and claim the ace tag. When we look to the 2015 Hall of Fame class we see pitchers like John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez being inducted. Those guys were aces. You need a World Series game seven starter against a living legend Jack MorrisJohn Smoltz is there for you. Pedro even came after missing half a season of baseball and won a playoff game for the Phillies in 2008. More important than those games though I can remember watching Smoltz pulling his Braves in the regular season. On a five game losing streak and Smoltz’s turn would come up in the rotation. Time for a complete game. Time to grit through seven innings without your best stuff. That is what Cashner did NOT provide last year, what Ross wasn’t expected to do last year – and what we DO expect of James Shields this season.

He can do it.

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