James Shields has started Game 1 for the Rays for the past two seasons and manager Joe Maddon just announced that he’ll get the Opening Day nod again this year:
We feel very good about him being the opening day starter. We feel as though he’s earned the right to maintain that position. He was very excited and very grateful about it.
Scott Kazmir got the Game 2 call last season, but he’s with the Angels now and instead Matt Garza will follow Shields in the rotation. Maddon added that David Price and Jeff Niemann will start Games 3 and 4, but he hasn’t decided on the order yet. Niemann actually led the Rays in wins as a rookie with 13, posting a 3.94 ERA in 180.2 innings.
Wade Davis and Andy Sonnanstine are fighting for the final rotation spot, with Sonnanstine having the big edge in experience and Davis possessing significantly more upside.
In 2016, late pitcher Roy Halladay was asked if he would prefer to wear a Blue Jays or Phillies cap on his plaque if he were to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Per Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star, Halladay said, “I’d go as a Blue Jay.” He added, “I wanted to retire here, too, just because I felt like this is the bulk of my career.”
Obviously, circumstances have changed as Halladay tragically died in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida in November 2017. Halladay was elected to the Hall of Fame yesterday, becoming the first player to be posthumously elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility since Christy Mathewson in the Hall of Fame’s inaugural year.
Today, Arash Madani reports that Halladay’s wife Brandy said her late husband will not wear a cap with the emblem of either team on his plaque. He will instead be portrayed with a generic baseball cap. Brandy said, “He was a Major League Baseball player and that’s how we want him to be remembered.”
Halladay spent 16 years in the majors, 12 with the Blue Jays and four with the Phillies. He meant a lot to both teams. He was a six-time All-Star and won the AL Cy Young Award in 2003 with the Jays. He won the NL Cy Young in 2010 with the Phillies and was a runner-up for the award in 2011, making the All-Star team both years and helping the Phillies continue their streak of reaching the postseason, which lasted from 2007-11. Halladay authored a perfect game in the regular season against the Marlins and a no-hitter in the postseason against the Reds as a member of the Phillies in 2010 as well.
In aggregate, Halladay won 203 games with a 3.38 ERA and 2,117 strikeouts in 2,749 1/3 innings during his storied 16-year career which was unfortunately cut a bit short by injuries.