James Shields Day: The Feast | The Process Report

James Shields Day: The Feast

Not all workhorse pitchers are the same. Too often, the term innings eater is thrown about for anyone who devours outs, but that term ignores quality. Being a pitcher who eats innings that are equitable to pabulum like McDonalds isn’t the same as being a pitcher with an eye on nourishment. In that sense, James Shields is qualified to be a nutritionist.

Since the 2006 season, Shields has thrown the 13th most innings in baseball. Move that to 2007 and Shields has thrown the sixth-most innings, behind names like Sabathia, Halladay, Haren, Hernandez, and Verlander. Durability is an attribute Shields holds dear, as is efficiency. Despite racking up those innings, Shields finds himself throwing only the 10th most pitches in baseball since 2007. Arms like Matt Cain, Bronson Arroyo, Jered Weaver, and Tim Lincecum have tossed the baseball more often while completing fewer innings.

Sure, the Rays have pushed the rotation back on occasion to give their arms extra rest and Shields even had some minor arm issues in the minors. They also shut down Scott Kazmir and Shields in late 2006 and added Jeremy Hellickson to the fold for some time in 2010. Besides serving suspension in 2008 (for fighting), when the Rays simply used an off day to flip the rotation through, Shields has become old reliable. For the Rays, this assures comfort. For their opponents, it assures misery.

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