CHICAGO -- James Shields receives an A for his stellar pitching performance during the White Sox 3-0 victory over the Cubs on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
But he earned an A+ for perspective after throwing 7 2/3 innings with 117 pitches against the National League Central leaders. After all, the same pitcher who has put together six straight quality starts and has a 1.71 ERA over those six trips to the mound allowed 21 runs on 24 hits over his first 8 2/3 innings for his new team.
Shields learned how to handle baseball's highs and lows long before he arrived in Chicago from San Diego.
"Honestly, the one thing I learned in baseball is that you have to have amnesia no matter what," Shields said. "I go home, I have two kids that I love and kind of keep my head above ground no matter what.
"After every game, no matter if I win, lose, do bad, do good, I don't think about it anymore. I just go and do my thing and ride my skateboard and hang out."
Although Shields has given up two runs or fewer in each of his past six starts, Tuesday marked his first victory since July 4 against the Yankees. The White Sox offense got him just enough run support, and Shields made use of a high-end changeup to shut down the North Side rivals.
Kris Bryant, arguably a National League Most Valuable Player candidate, went down swinging in the first, third and eighth innings, getting caught on the change all three times.
"I utilized it pretty well tonight, keeping it down in the zone for the most part," Shields said. "I'm feeling really good with my changeup right now. Keep it down and located."
"Everybody knows he's a very good pitcher," said White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo. "It's true that he had three very bad starts with us, but we were confident in him. Now, the effort and the work he's putting in his preparation has shown up, and that's good. He's a really good pitcher, but he's an even better person."
Shields' 117 pitches represented a season high. He showed no signs of faltering until manager Robin Ventura pulled him after a walk issued to Ben Zobrist. Big Game James lived up to his moniker on this evening.
"This is the guy we were thinking of when we got him," Ventura said. "He came up big tonight, especially the way the bullpen is. I know he takes a lot of pride in that, he really does, of going out there and going deep into games."
"That's what we train for, is for every five days to be able to go do that," Shields said. "Our bullpen had some taxing days the last few days, and between [Miguel Gonzalez], myself and [Jose Quintana], we've done a good job of getting them back on track."