Tampa Bay right-hander
, who will start Tuesday night’s pivotal game against the
, is wrapping up a very successful 2012 season that – so far – has featured a 15-9 and a solid 3.62 ERA. That’s almost proportionately consistent with his career numbers in 23 career starts against the Orioles.
He’s a very good pitcher, but the Orioles have proven this season that he is far from unbeatable. In his two previous 2012 starts against them, he has not been particularly impressive, giving up six runs (four earned) over 6 1/3 innings at
Shields has pitched slightly better at home (3.42 ERA) than on the road (3.83 ERA) and has been a much better pitcher in the second half (2.97 ERA) than the first (4.17 ERA), which is just enough information to cast doubt on whether his earlier performances against the Orioles this year are even relevant at this point.
The Orioles can only hope that they don't get the 2011 James Shields who gave up just three earned runs over 14 2/3 innings, or the 2009 Shields who gave up four earned runs over 20 2/3 innings. But he built his solid numbers largely against an Orioles team that was a chronic loser until this season, and he has struggled against the new and improved version of the club.
There's your glass half full, sports fans.
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