James Shields is first pitcher since Randy Johnson in 1999 to throw 11 complete games

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James Shields threw his 11th complete game this afternoon, holding the Rangers to one run on four hits in a 4-1 victory.

Not only does Shields lead MLB in complete games ahead of second-place Roy Halladay with seven, he’s the first pitcher since Randy Johnson in 1999 to throw 11 or more complete games in a season.

In fact, during the 12 seasons since then CC Sabathia in 2008 was the only other pitcher with even 10 complete games.

Shields hasn’t gotten much run support and so his win-loss record is a modest 14-10, but among AL pitchers he ranks third in innings (218), third in strikeouts (205), and fourth in ERA (2.77). Not bad for a guy with a 5.18 ERA last season, although Shields’ unsustainably high batting average on balls in play always suggested those 2010 struggles were a fluke.