Maddon makes moves in rotation
Shields, Niemann to switch spots against Angels
NEW YORK -- In the wake of Friday night's rainout against the Yankees, Rays manager Joe Maddon has decided to change his rotation for the coming series against the Angels that begins Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.
James Shields and Jeff Niemann will flip-flop in the rotation, which keeps Shields on schedule while giving Niemann two extra days of rest.
"We'll go Shields first, Niemann second, David [Price] third in that series, just based on the rainout and how this all shook out," Maddon said. "I still wanted to pitch [Andy] Sonnanstine up [in New York], and by just keeping Shieldsy in his regular start and with Jeff coming off the extended game last time, too, just thought it was the right thing to do on all different levels."
Niemann's last start was on June 3 against the Royals when he allowed just two hits and threw 100 pitches in a complete-game shutout. Shields won his last start on Thursday against the Royals when he went eight innings, allowing two runs.
"I'm really doing whatever they want me to do," Shields said. "But the more I pitch, the better for me. I feel great right now, so like I said, whatever they want me to do, I'll be ready to go."
Statistically, Shields has always been a better pitcher at home, boasting a 24-9 record with a 3.17 ERA in 50 career home starts. On the road, he is 13-19 with a 4.73 ERA in 47 starts. This adjustment will allow Shields to make two starts on the next homestand rather than one.
"Somehow, I think that was the reason [for the change]," said Shields with a chuckle. "But I feel like I've been pitching pretty well on the road this year. ... It's one of those things where they're making the decision for me to take that start, and I'm fine with it."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.