A year ago, in his first season in San Diego, James Shields was the Padres' ace. He had been their Opening Day starter, and at this point in the season he had gone 2-0 in his first five starts while posting a 2.90 ERA. He went on to a 7-0 start and didn't suffer a loss until his 15th game of the year, cementing his leadership role on the field and in the clubhouse.
This season he started out as the no. 2 guy in the Padres rotation, behind Tyson Ross. He's now back in the no. 1 rotation spot, but only because of an unfortunate injury that has kept Tyson Ross on the disabled list since his disastrous season opener. And Shields' first four starts haven't been as sharp, amounting to an 0-3 record and 4.15 ERA. Tonight he has the chance, however, to end his April on a high note and notch that first win of the season as the Friars look to even up the series in San Francisco.
Shields dominated the Giants in his second start of the 2015 season, pitching seven full innings of one-run, three-hit ball and racking up seven strikeouts. But his next try against them he was tagged for seven runs on nine hits and only lasted four innings. Less than a month later he threw a three-hit shutout against them, though that time he only pitched five innings.
Going opposite Shields in tonight's matchup will be arguably the best Giants pitcher so far this season, Johnny Cueto. The right-hander, coming off a World Series season with the Royals, has thrived so far in his first season with the Giants. He's pitched seven or more innings in each of his first four starts, posting a 3.49 ERA and compiling a 3-1 record in that stretch. The right-hander is seeking his 100th career win tonight.
Game time: 7:15 pm PT
Radio: The Mighty 1090, La Poderosa 860 (Sp.)
TV: FSSD, Fox Deportes San Diego (Sp.)