Last week James Shields became the first pitcher since Randy Johnson in 1999 to complete 11 games in a season and yesterday he became the first right-handed pitcher with 12 pickoffs in a season since Charlie Hough in 1988.
In MLB history there have only been 14 instances of a right-hander recording double-digit pickoffs in a season. Not only has Shields picked off 12 runners in 30 starts, he’s allowed a grand total of one stolen base all season while another five runners were thrown out. Add it all up and baserunners against Shields have one steal while making 17 extra outs.
He seems unlikely to get any serious Cy Young consideration, but Shields is having a remarkably good season. He leads the league in complete games and pickoffs while throwing 226 innings with a 2.70 ERA and 210/57 K/BB ratio. Not bad for a guy who led the league in hits, homers, and runs allowed in 2010.
The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.
A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.