In an Easter afternoon special, the Tampa Bay Rays put James Shields on the mound against Toronto Blue Jays lefty Ricky Romero. Today was all about pitching and Shields was simply dominant, hurling his second four-hit complete game in as many tries -- this time a 95 pitch shutout.
Here is a look at Shields' pitch choice from our Rays affiliate, DRaysBay:
Four Seam Fastball: 22 thrown, 81% strikes
Changeup: 13 thrown, 76% strikes, 9 swinging strikes
Curveball: 34 thrown, 58% strikes, 4 swinging strikes
TwoSeam Fastball: 13 thrown, 61% strikes, 1 swinging strike
Tampa Bay went up early with Ben Zobrist's 2nd home run of the series, scoring 2 runs in the 1st. No runners would score after that, and James Shields would not relent from the moment he stood on the mound. The Rays walked away with the series on a 2-0 win.
The Rays are back to .500 with their eleventh win of the season. Only eight teams in the majors have more than eleven wins, but the Rays still need to increase their offense. Tampa Bay sits 27th in the majors in batting average and 29th in on base percentage.
Sam Fuld struck out in all 4 of his at bats today, working 3 full counts and 21 pitches. He is still the only Ray with a batting average above .300, batting .346 (the next highest is Matt Joyce with .290). Fuld also leads the team in slugging and on base percentage, so off days are to be expected.
Evan Longoria is still nursing a strained left oblique, but faced live pitching in the batting cages for the first time today. He hopes to return when the Rays host the Angels next weekend, possibly for Shields' next start on Saturday. They travel to Minnesota on Tuesday to face the Twins.
- James Shields is the first Rays pitcher to throw back-to-back complete games since 2000, and has allowed only three earned runs in his last three starts.
- Sean Rodriguez doubled and walked today, in addition to making the defensive play of the game after Joe Maddon moved him from second to third in the seventh. S-Rod backhanded a wild ground ball that would have gotten past the average third baseman, and he made it look easy getting the runner at first.
- from DRaysBay:
- Johnny Damon stayed hot, picking up two singles to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.
- Zobrist's homer was his team leading fifth, and his first from the right side of the plate.
- Shields' pickoff of Bautista for the second out in the ninth inning was beautiful. He has one of the better moves to first among right handed pitchers.