James Shields(notes) pitched the first back-to-back complete games for the Tampa Bay Rays in more than a decade, but he might settle for just a win in his next start if it means his team finally defeats the Los Angeles Angels.
Shields will try to help the Rays avoid a fifth straight home loss and fourth this season to the Angels on Saturday.
Shields (2-1, 2.35 ERA) has thrown consecutive four-hitters, a 2-0 win over Toronto on Sunday preceded by a 2-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on April 19.
Shields has struck out 16 over the last two starts, and needed only 95 pitches to shut down the Blue Jays after tossing 105 versus the White Sox.
Shields, named AL player of the week Monday, entered this season with five complete games - two coming against the Angels in 2008.
“I just simplified things,” said the right-hander, who lost a career-high 15 games last season. “I’m a lot quieter in my delivery, I’m not so violent. I think I’m more under control and I think that’s why I’m throwing my offspeed pitches for strikes consistently.”
It was the third time in Rays (14-12) history that a pitcher has won back-to-back complete games as Shields joined Rolando Arrojo in 1998 and Albie Lopez in 2000. No one has pitched three consecutive ones for the franchise.
Shields would probably just settle for another good outing against Los Angeles (15-11). He is 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA in nine starts against the Angels. Shields has given up two earned runs in each of his last three starts against them, beating them once last season.
Kendrick had three of the Angels’ 17 hits in an 8-5 win Friday. The loss snapped Tampa Bay’s five-game winning streak and was just its fourth defeat in 17 games.
The Angels are 3-0 against the Rays at Tropicana Field this season, scoring 18 runs while batting .345.
“Obviously, they swing the bats really well against us,” Rays outfielder Matt Joyce(notes) said. “We’ve got our best pitcher going on the mound and they still put up a lot of hits and a lot of runs. It seems like they play really well against us.”
Los Angeles has won three of four overall and eight of nine on the road.
“I’m ready,” he told the Angels’ official website Monday. “I feel normal; nothing’s changed.”
The right-hander went 10-7 with a 3.84 ERA last season.
Pineiro is 2-4 with a 4.80 ERA in 11 starts against the Rays. He hasn’t earned a decision the last five times he’s faced them, including two starts last season. Pineiro allowed two runs over 12 1-3 innings pitched in those outings, and the Angels went 1-1.