James Shields made his White Sox debut last Wednesday and it was a nightmare. The right-hander was taken for seven runs on eight hits and a pair of walks with two strikeouts in two-plus innings. Three of those eight hits were home runs.
The White Sox acquired Shields on June 4 from the Padres in exchange for Erik Johnson and Fernando Tatis, Jr., attempting to bolster a rotation that was lacking in depth. The veteran Shields has been mighty reliable and occasionally elite over his career, but he finished with a 3.91 ERA last year starting half his games in the spacious Petco Park and left the Padres with a 4.28 ERA, so perhaps the 34-year-old’s best days are behind him.
Shields is currently close (19.7%) to posting his worst strikeout rate (19.2%) in the last six seasons, and his current 9.7 walk rate would be the worst of his career if the season were to end today. He is barely averaging 90 MPH on his fastball and his current average velocity (90.1 MPH) is also nearly the worst of his career. ERA retrodictors like FIP (4.96) and xFIP (4.24) illustrate his performance thus far as potentially the worst of his career.
Shields will attempt to right his ship with a home start against the Tigers, opposing Matt Boyd at 8:10 PM EDT.
The rest of Monday’s action…