Padres News: James Shields Officially Named Opening Day Starter


In what should not really be a surprise at all, James Shields was named as the San Diego Padres Opening Day starter by Bud Black as reported on FriarWire by Bill Center.

There was some talk about Andrew Cashner getting the nod for the second year in a row, but why would it not be James Shields, who is set to lead this staff in so many ways already? Shields is no stranger to being the ace of a staff, after being the man previously in Kansas City and Tampa Bay (despite the presence of David Price too).

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Here at FriarsOnBase, staff writer Nick Wilson made the case last week that it should not be an issue naming Shields as the Opening Day starter after signing the largest free agent contract in San Diego Padres history this off season – four years and $75M.

That would have been a lot of money to not be your Opening Day starter.

Also, Shields has done this before. This will be Shields seventh Opening Day start, how many more after this year will be up to him.

Jake Peavy started four straight Opening Days from 2006-2009, followed by Jon Garland in 2010, Tim Stauffer in 2011, Edison Volquez in 2012-2013, and Cashner last year.

I have no doubt that this honor might be Cashner’s again next year, if he can stay fully healthy and really take charge of the staff – allowing Shields to lead from the background. Reread that last paragraph and realize how much higher the Padres are setting their free agency sights. In 2010 – a year they almost made the playoffs – their Opening Day starter was Jon Garland.

All this to say, Shields doesn’t exactly have the best record on Opening Day. As reported by AJ Casavell of, Shields’ has a record of 1-2 with an ERA of 5.05.

Luckily, his counterpart will be some unknown left-hander for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw. Oh wait, he won the Cy Young and the MVP Award last year. Maybe we can convince him it’s October?

It will be a treat for Shields, who grew up in Southern California and admits Dodger Stadium was his local spot growing up (Boooo) but has never pitched there before. Between James Shields pitching in his childhood stadium, Matt Kemp returning to Dodger Stadium as a visitor, and the Padres debuting their new look to the world – there is much to look forward to next Monday night in Los Angeles.

Said Shields:

"“It’s definitely going to be pretty surreal. But I’m sure once the game starts, I’ll try to lock it in.”"

Last year Andrew Cashner and the Padres were able to defeat the Dodgers to open the 2014 MLB season in the US; the Dodgers played three in Australia. Can they win this time against Kershaw? James Shields is ready to answer that question as all the talking starts fading away and replaced with real baseball action.

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