Tale O' Tape: James Shields Gives Rays Huge Game 2 Advantage

Personal history and numbers don't always guide on-field performance, but they can give us a quick insight into who carries the advantage -- if ever so slight -- into a particular game. Tale O' Tape breaks down the starting pitchers to find an edge.

Last night's game was a great pitching matchup with some early Chase Utley fireworks and a Brad Lidge save. So basically, it was exactly what we expected here at Tale O' Tape. Low-scoring, with the ace Hamels getting the job done for his team. From here I expect the Rays to take over, but let's see if the numbers bear it out for tonight.

James Shields

Home Splits - In almost 30 more innings of work, Shields was nails at home in the regular season. He went 9-2 with a 2.59 ERA. The 1.04 WHIP pales his 1.31 road WHIP by comparison. He struck out 91 of his 160 batters at home, and both his shutouts came in the Trop as well. Despite the aforementioned huge difference in innings, Shields still gave up six less home runs at home.

In the playoffs, though, he's gone 1-2 with a 3.72 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, and a 13/6 K/BB. Not exactly great, but he's kept his team in every game.

Relevant Background - Two of the Phillies big guns are left-handed, as will be their DH tonight. The good news for Rays fans is that there isn't a huge discrepancy in the numbers when it comes to righties and lefties facing Shields. Righties hit .253 and lefties hit .255. The left-handers do get on base at a tad bit higher pace, and hit for a little more power (which is illustrated by the .735 to .680 OPS lead by lefties).

No one on the Phillies has faced Shields more than three times ... except one. Matt Stairs is 3-20 against Shields. He does have a home run, but overall the OPS is an ugly .527. Jimmy Rollins does have a two RBI double to show for his three at-bats against Shields.

Brett Myers

Road Splits - Myers is awful on the road. Simply abysmal. He compiled a 6.21 road ERA this year, to go with his 3-8 record and 1.95 WHIP. Teams OPS .896 against Myers when he works on the road. This is so bad I'm honestly surprised Charlie Manuel didn't elect to go with someone else and use Myers in Game 3 at home.

Relevant Background - Last time out the Dodgers touched Myers up for five runs in five innings, and that was at Citizens Bank Park in Philly where he's comfortable.

The only player on the Rays who has faced Shields more than a small handful of times is Cliff Floyd, and he hasn't had much trouble finding ways to hurt the righty. Floyd is 12-33 (.364) career against Myers, with three home runs and eight RBI. The OPS is a stout 1.097. Expect Floyd to get the nod at DH tonight and hit towards the middle of the order.

Finally, Myers is right-handed, but he's actually tougher on lefties than righties. Don't expect him to lock down the righty power of Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton simply because of which hand he throws with. Right-handers had a higher OPS against him this year than left-handers (.835 to .739).


The edge is leaps and bounds in favor of the Shields and the Rays for this game. They'll likely get back on track ... and if not, they are in serious trouble in this series. You can't lose a game where the starting pitching advantage is this drastically in your favor and still recover under these circumstances (would be two game deficit heading to Philly for three).

Honestly, this is the most lopsided pitching matchup I've seen in the postseason when it comes to numbers.

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