Five days after a comebacker hit him flush on the side of his knee, James Shields was dealing on Saturday night.
The White Sox pitcher didn’t show any effects from Tuesday’s outing as he delivered his strongest performance of the season. Shields limited the San Francisco Giants to a run and two hits in seven innings in a 13-1 White Sox victory. The right-hander said it’s another step in the right direction as he continues to pitch from the lowered arm angle he switched to during a start last month.
“I’ve been having some good quality starts in the last six or seven outings or so. It’s still a work in progress, but we’re moving forward, and I’m getting the results that I want. I think the games like today are going to start coming along a little bit more. We’re going to keep working at it.
It was in the middle of an Aug. 5 start at Boston that Shields opted to drop down. He’s worked on the lowered angle for a decade and finally tried it out during a loss. It has resulted in more consistent performances for a pitcher who boasted a 6.19 ERA through July.
In seven starts, Shields has a 4.32 ERA in 41 2/3 innings. He’s allowed 33 hits, walked 16 and struck out 39 in that span. Even as he lay on the ground writhing in pain on Tuesday, Shields said had no doubts he’d make Saturday’s start.
“My adrenaline kind of took over,” Shields said. “My fastball location was pretty much on point. I got behind the count on a few hitters, but overall didn’t really leave anything over the plate besides the home run. I got a ton of ground balls today. That’s what I wanted to do. Again, those guys did a great job of getting me some runs early and making me feel a little more comfortable out there.”
The White Sox were pleased with the effort. Shields threw strikes on 69 of 106 pitches and worked deep into the game.
“James’ outing was fantastic,” Renteria said. “He was extremely efficient. Did everything he could. A lot of ground balls, a lot of strikes. Just for himself again, kind of reinventing himself with his new delivery and attacking the strike zone and it’s been working very well for him.”
Hub Arkush (670 The Score/Pro Football Weekly), Mark Grote (670 The Score) and Jordan Bernfield join Kap on the panel. The White Sox are reportedly heavily interested in Manny Machado. Is this the right move for the rebuild?
Plus the guys discuss how attractive the Bears head coaching gig and whether or not Nikola Mirotic is playing well enough to be traded.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Looking to take a short break from Machado Mania? There's a new White Sox trade rumor involving Avisail Garcia.
The outfielder has been the subject of trade speculation this winter, and he's finally getting some reported interest, with USA Today's Bob Nightengale listing both the San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays as teams that have talked with the White Sox about Garcia.
The Winter Meetings started with questions about potential trade candidates Jose Abreu and Garcia, who both put up great offensive numbers last season. Garcia was statistically one of the best hitters in the American League, ranking second behind only MVP Jose Altuve with a .330 batting average and sixth with a .380 on-base percentage.
That production and the White Sox rebuilding efforts seemed to make Garcia a logical trade chip, someone who could potentially further stockpile the minor league system with more highly touted talent.
The option, of course, also exists for the White Sox to hold on to the 26-year-old outfielder, who despite being in the bigs since 2012 didn't put together a big offensive season until 2017. They could keep him and trade him at a later date, once the rest of baseball finds out if he's capable of repeating what he did last season. Or they could keep him for good, extending him and including him as a part of their long-term core.
Of course, all of that talk was obliterated by the Thursday morning reports about the White Sox and a potential trade for Baltimore Orioles superstar third baseman Manny Machado. Starting with The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, several national writers reported on the White Sox aggressive push for Machado, who's set to become one of the headlining members of the 2019 free-agent class.
There are pros and cons to trading for Machado, and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn spoke about the team's thinking before departing the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort.
But perhaps Machado isn't the only subject of trade talks on the South Side right now.