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.”