Detroit Tigers Could Score in Bunches Against Shields, White Sox

Aug 2, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher James Shields (25) walks off the field after the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 2, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher James Shields (25) walks off the field after the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers players kick off a three-game home series against Chicago on Monday night. The visitors will start James Shields. Detroit’s offense could be in for a big night against the former Royal.

Detroit Tigers fans didn’t see much offense in the team’s recent series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Over 18 innings, Miguel Cabrera and friends managed just six runs while dropping two of the three games to a struggling Angels team. This was a bit of a departure from the previous four games heading into the Anaheim series when the Tigers plated 35 baserunners in four games versus the Red Sox and Twins.

Despite losing the series against the Jefry Marte-led Halos, the Tigers still only sit 4.5 games back of Cleveland in the Central. Detroit is just two games behind Baltimore for the American League’s second wild card spot.

Monday’s game represents an opportunity for Brad Ausmus’ team to potentially make up ground in the playoff race, but it could also be a chance for the Tigers offense to get going again.

Detroit will be facing the right-handed offerings of one James Shields.

The former Ray/Royal/Padre has had an excellent career to date. Since breaking into the big leagues with Tampa Bay, he’s posted 132 wins, a 3.88 ERA and a 27.7 WAR.

However, things haven’t been as successful for Shields this year.

Numbers of Note

In 26 starts split between San Diego and Chicago, Shields is 5-16 with a 5.98 ERA. His ERA since joining the American League Central club has skyrocketed to 7.49. His 5.97 FIP isn’t much better, in fact, it is the worst FIP number in the entire league.

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It isn’t just the FIP.

Only Jered Weaver owns a higher xFIP and SIERA than the right-hander, and Shields is second only to Josh Tomlin allowing the most home runs per nine innings. The veteran also has the eight-highest walks-per-nine innings rate, and has struck out the sixth-fewest batters per nine frames.

Shields vs the Detroit Tigers

What’s more, Shields has struggled against the Tigers in his career.

Of all American League teams, the starter has the highest ERA (4.53 in 141 innings) against Detroit. What’s more, a number of Tigers players boast extremely impressive career numbers against the former Padre.

Leading the way is J.D. Martinez with a .429 batting average in 22 plate appearances versus Shield. Next is Miguel Cabrera, who has been nearly as effective against the right-hander in more than three times as many plate appearances.

Cabrera is hitting 24-for-63 (.381 batting average in 69 plate appearances) with 10 doubles, 10 RBI, six walks and three home runs lifetime against Shields.

Other notables include Cameron Maybin (.353), Erick Aybar (.320) and Victor Martinez (.294).

Ian Kinsler is only a career .266 hitter versus Shields, but is 5-for-10 with two home runs and three RBI against the righty this season. Kinsler has more home runs against Shields than any other pitcher in his career.

The Detroit Tigers have struggled as of late, but they could be in for an offensive outburst against a pitcher whose ERA over his last 20 innings is a sky-high 13.95.

Next: Tigers Have to Beat Bad Teams

Get ready for some fireworks on Monday night.