Shields finding form after sluggish start

Shields finding form after sluggish start

Shields finding form after sluggish start
MINNEAPOLIS -- After a rocky start to his season, James Shields, Sunday's starting pitcher, seems to have finally gotten in a groove after two excellent performances in his last two starts.

Shields began the season by compiling an ERA of 6.15 in his first seven starts, allowing opposing batters to hit .323 against him. In his last two starts, he has allowed just one run and five hits over 17 innings.

It has been evident that Shields has had a good fastball in his last two starts, throwing it 50 percent of the time, something he has made more of an emphasis, but he said it's important to focus more on the pitches that are working that particular day, not just one pitch.

"I've had a good fastball, my location has been good," Shields said. "I would say it's a conscious effort as far as my game plan goes, but once the game starts, my pitches dictate what I will throw."

With his last two starts, Shields joined Rolando Arrojo (1998) as the only Rays pitcher to have two consecutive starts of at least eight innings and yielding three hits or fewer.

Shields said he is looking to finish the season strong in helping his team compete for a playoff spot.

"I feel really good right now. I am getting a lot of ground balls, a lot of outs. The team is playing really well right now and the offense is starting to come around," he said.