James Shields may have been a surprise call-up for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but he’ll have the chance to make an impression when he makes his major league debut against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday at Camden Yards.
The Devil Rays (21-31) have several top pitching prospects in the minors, including Edwin Jackson and Jason Hammel, but the 24-year-old Shields was chosen to make the start in this game in place of the injured Casey Fossum.
“Because he’s been throwing so well, and that was the recommendation,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said when asked why Shields was selected. “His numbers are really good.”
The right-hander was 3-2 with a 2.64 ERA in 10 games with Triple-A Durham, striking out 64 batters while allowing only six walks in 61 1-3 innings.
“He is the most complete package at this point,” Maddon said.
Shields will try to help the Devils Rays snap a season-high five-game losing streak, with all the losses coming on the road.
Tampa Bay fell to 1-7 on its season-high 10-game road trip following Tuesday’s 7-5 loss to the Orioles (24-28).
Patterson also made a leaping catch in the ninth inning, robbing Greg Norton of a game-tying homer.
“They should both name a street and a day for him,” Maddon deadpanned. “Quite a performance. What are you going to do? Two homers. He actually had three, counting the one he stole.”
The Orioles are 10-3 at Camden Yards against the Devil Rays over the last two seasons.
“We just came up a bit short. Two feet? Eighteen inches? I have no idea,” Maddon said. “You saw it. Good for him. It’s a tremendous effort, a game he’ll never forget, I’m sure.”
Bruce Chen (0-5, 7.40) looks for another solid performance when he starts for Baltimore on Wednesday. The left-hander has allowed three earned runs or less in his last three starts to lower his ERA from 8.42.
“I’m trying to do everything possible to win,” Chen said. “I’m working toward getting more consistent and throwing good quality pitches. I want to win some ballgames.”
Chen is 3-1 with a 4.29 ERA in eight starts against Tampa Bay.
Baltimore is 1-8 in games started by Chen this season, including seven straight losses.