"Yeah, I had a few chances my last few starts to get some wins, but sometimes those things happen," said Shields, who was 0-6 with a 9.46 ERA during this prolonged winless drought. "I'm just trying to finish the season strong right now. Body feels good, arm feels good, so hopefully I can get another win on Saturday to end my season and move into next year."
"We've all been through it once or maybe even twice in our career," said White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, who doubled, scored a run and picked up his 15th stolen base, while also starting three double plays defensively. "He works his butt off, though. He looks at film. He watches everything he's doing."
Since the 7 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball Shields threw against the Cubs at the end of July, he has produced three quality starts ending in no-decisions. Five starts in that same stretch saw the veteran right-hander allow at least six earned runs.
Monday's effort lasted six innings and 108 pitches, with Shields striking out six, walking two and yielding one run on seven hits. He got a break in the first inning when Brad Miller's double with Evan Longoria on first and two outs bounced over the wall, preventing Longoria from scoring and allowing Shields to escape the frame unscathed. He improved to 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA lifetime against the Rays, with whom he won 87 games over seven seasons.
"All things considered, I only was teammates with one guy in the lineup," said Shields, referring to Longoria. "But yeah, it's always nice to face your old team and get a win."
Chris Archer, who takes 19 losses to the mound for the Rays against the White Sox Thursday, stands as the only hurler with more defeats than Shields' 18. Eleven of those 18 have come for the White Sox, against four wins, to go with a 6.79 ERA in 21 starts.
This victory guarantees Shields won't lose 20. But to be honest, he's more interested in putting forth one more quality start Saturday than getting closer to an unwanted loss total.
"Nobody wants to be on it, I know that," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of losing 20. "The guy, he still has to be going out there and have enough chances to be able to do it. It's one nobody really wants to be on, and I know he doesn't either."