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James Shields & The Subterranean Homesick Blues

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This is FreeZo with an agenda. Now that we have that out of the way, this is why you should be not be concerned, strike that, this is why you should be excited that James Shieldsis taking the hill today. This year we have looked at the big picture in terms of James Shields hittability (BABIP, OPS against, HR/FB%, etc), and in terms of his defensive independent metrics. We've looked at his career, game by game performance over a three-year period, and 2010 data. Today I am going to tell you that James Shield performed extremely well in 2010......at home. This is nothing new for Shields. Typically I'd dismiss this as random variation, but this is nothing new for James Shields. Take heed:

K/9

BB/9

BABIP

HR/FB%

ERA

FIP

2010 Home

9.68

2.22

0.354

11.8%

4.53

3.52

2010 Road

6.61

2.29

0.354

15.6%

5.82

4.95

Career Home

7.74

1.89

0.309

9.8%

3.60

3.57

Career Road

6.97

2.12

0.323

13.8%

5.00

4.57

Shields has been nearly a strikeout better per-nine over his career at home while walking fewer. His BABIP against while identical on the season has been slightly better at home. The home run rate for Shields has been much worse on the road, both in 2010 and in his career. The Trop is a fairly neutral stadium for a right-handed pitcher while Arlington is a launching pad. Would you rather see Shields pitch in Arlington given these numbers? When looking at his ERA and FIP numbers for 2010 and his career, you might guess that James Shields either pitched in Citifield or that he has some sort of mental hangups on the road. Certainly there is a some form of regressing that would narrow the split, but there is a clear issue over a large period. Regardless, a 3.52/3.57 home and career FIP should be plenty of reason to be optimistic about Game 2 today. We'll worry about the homesick blues in the ALCS.