Joe Maddon just named the guy who will toe the mound on Opening Day 2010 against the Baltimore Orioles.
It seems a little anti-climactic, but I am sure you can guess who it is.
For the third season in a row, James “Don’t Call Me Jamie” Shields will open the season for the Tampa Bay Rays. His third appearance on Opening Day breaks a record he had held with Scott Kazmir and Wilson Alvarez.
Shields is coming off of a slightly disappointing season where he got double-digit wins (11) again, but also got double-digit losses (12). HIs ERA of 4.14 is much higher than it should be for a true #1 starter.
So what can we expect from the righty with the devestating changeup?
Here is what Shields has done in his first two Opening Day assignments.
@ Balt 7.0 IP 5 H 2 ER 3 BB 2 K Win Rays Win 6-2
@ Bos 5.1 IP 9 H 5 ER 5 BB 2 K Loss Rays Lose 5-3 (2 HR given up)
You have to admit, those are two very different starts. Then again, you have to admit that those are two very different types of teams. Neither of those previous statements bode well for the Rays on Opening Day 2010.
Overall, here are Jamie’s stats on Opening Day:
1-1 Record 12.1 IP 14 H 7 ER 8 BB 4 K 5.20 ERA 1.81 WHIP
Those numbers are tough to look at.
However, let’s keep in mind that each of those starts occurred on the road. And one of those starts, against the Orioles, was against the team that he will face on Opening Day this year.
That is the beauty of baseball, isn’t it? You can look at numbers and feel just sick to your stomach, or you can bend them a little bit to make you feel a little better.
I prefer to bend ’em like Beckham, so to speak.
Shields is going to nail down the first Rays win of 2010 on Opening Day.
On a side note.
I want one…