Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields saddled with another empty ending

ST. PETERSBURG — RHP James Shields' hard-luck season continued Thursday night with yet another tough loss.

Shields battled through 5-2/3 innings against the Orioles, surrendering just one earned run. But after Shields loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth (because of an error and two walks), he was relieved by RHP Lance Cormier, who gave up a grand slam to Brian Roberts.

Shields (7-10) has won just one of his past 11 starts, but teammates say he deserves a better fate. Shields has received the lowest run support in the American League (3.55), and no other pitcher in the AL has 10 losses and an ERA under 4.00.

"It's been a tough season," Shields said. "It's kind of one of those things where I've been that guy all season long, and every team has it. But I'm battling through it."

Shields tried to fight his way through the sixth, which started with an Evan Longoria throwing error, putting Nolan Reimold at second. With one out, Shields said he pitched around ex-Ray Ty Wigginton knowing it could set up a potential double play, and after a strikeout, he walked Felix Pie after getting ahead 0-and-2. That's when manager Joe Maddon pulled Shields after 106 pitches, a decision the right-hander was fine with. "It was a great effort once again," Maddon said of Shields.

But another one unrewarded.

BACK ON TRACK: DH Pat Burrell is starting to look like what he and the Rays envisioned when he signed a $16 million, two-year deal in the offseason.

He has three straight multihit games for the first time this season and has homered in five of his past 11 games. Since July 7, Burrell has nine homers, 22 RBIs and a .533 slugging percentage. In 52 games before that, Burrell had just three homers, 20 RBIs and a .305 slugging percentage.

"They brought me here to help offensively. And the first half — basically, for a long time — I haven't really been doing much to help," he said. "It was frustrating. But I feel if I can continue to swing the bat well, we are in a situation where we can control our own destiny."

Maddon said part of Burrell's resurgence can be attributed to him staying behind the ball better. But he also said Burrell's "confidence is on the rise."

SWITCH IT UP: Maddon left 1B Carlos Peña out of the starting lineup to get Willy Aybar in, and also because left-handers such as Peña entered 0-for-5 with four strikeouts vs. Orioles LHP Brian Matusz and right-handers were 24-for-55 (.436) with three homers and seven walks. Peña, who pinch hit for Gabe Kapler, should start tonight.

MISCELLANY: 2B Akinori Iwamura continued his rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Durham, going 1-for-1 with three walks as the designated hitter. OF Fernando Perez played centerfield for Durham and went 0-for-5 with an RBI.

Hard-luck James

James Shields has received the lowest run support per nine innings in the American League:

James Shields      Rays   3.55

Jarrod Washburn  Tigers  3.75

Matt Garza      Rays   3.79

Edwin Jackson  Tigers  3.82

Dallas Braden  A's   3.95

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields saddled with another empty ending 08/20/09 [Last modified: Friday, August 21, 2009 8:26am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends


    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.