Thursday, June 23, 2016

White Sox, Red Sox wrap up set with Thursday matinee

It's been almost a month since James Shields' last good start, and he gets the ball on Thursday in a place where he's had little success, Fenway Park (2-9, 5.42 ERA in 13 starts), in the finale of the four-game series.
He'll face right-hander Rick Porcello (8-2, 3.76 ERA), who has been perhaps Boston's most consistent starter. The sinkerballer is tied with Clayton Kershaw for the Major League's longest active streak of wins in consecutive home starts, but he faces the challenge of pitching to a lineup that highlights players who have historically hit well against him.
Shields, acquired to stabilize the back end of the White Sox rotation, has so far been unable to do so. Since allowing two earned runs over six innings in a no-decision against the Giants on May 25, Shields has gone 0-3 with a 24.62 ERA in four starts, the last three since joining the White Sox.
"You've seen what the last ones have been, but for him to be able to put that out of his mind and get back into what makes him effective, it's going to come down to location," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Being able to locate, being able to feel comfortable on the mound and throw strikes and jump ahead."
"He is a strong competitor with a putaway changeup," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Shields. "He thrives on the bigger stage. We don't take anything for granted. Yes, he's had a rough time as of late coming back to the American League, but he still can make quality pitches."
Three things to know about this game:
• White Sox switch-hitter Melky Cabrera is 14-for-25 against Porcello, with four doubles, one home run and one walk.
• Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has the 10th-most at-bats all-time against Shields, batting .300 with nine doubles, three homers and 16 RBIs.
• Porcello is 10-8 with a 4.09 ERA all-time against the White Sox.

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