I noted in the gamethread that James Shields needed 6 1⁄3 innings to eclipse 2,500 career innings, not really thinking much of it.
Going against a good Cleveland Indians lineup didn’t give me the most confidence entering tonight’s game, but he sure proved me wrong.
Shields ended up going an impressive seven innings of one-run ball. He gave up four hits and didn’t allow a base-on-balls.
This was certainly a nice bounceback game for Shields, who struggled mightily last Thursday against the Minnesota Twins (seven earned runs in six innings).
As I see Tyler Chatwood struggle through another game for the North Siders, I can imagine they’d want a pitcher who could eat quality innings like Shields has done.
I’m not saying the Cubs will be looking to trade for Big Game James around the deadline, but there is certainly a market out there for a solid fourth or fifth starter. He just has to keep it up.
There won’t be as much talk around Shields if he falters in the coming months. It’s great that he’s pitching this well now, but the deadline isn’t in a week — it’s in a little over a month. Regardless, he’s undoubtedly a valuable asset to the team on and off the field right now.
Anyway, back to the game. The Sox got off to a great start offensively with a good ol’ Yo-Yo trick. Yoan Moncada and Yolmer Sanchez welcomed Adam Plutko to The Rate by going back-to-back in the bottom of the first.
It was Moncada’s fourth leadoff homer of the year and ninth total. He’s hitting .333 with a .435 OBP leading off this season. Gotta love those numbers.
The Sox didn’t stop in that first inning, adding another tally with a Matt Davidson RBI rocket double to score sneaky speedster Daniel Palka from first (Palka had 24 stolen bases in high-A in 2015).
The Sox got two more runs in the fifth inning with another Davidson double. He would eventually score on an Omar Narvaez double later that inning.
The bullpen did its job once again. Jace Fry came on in the eighth and worked a 1-2-3 inning, highlighted by strikeouts of Greg Allen and Francisco Lindor.
Nate Jones could get only one out in the ninth, but Xavier Cedeno and Joakim Soria shut it down. The win was Shields’ first since Opening Day.
The Sox improve to 23-42, while the Indians drop to 35-30.