The Tampa Bay Rays have made a science of wasting exemplary pitching performances.
James Shields threw a 106-pitch complete game with 15 strikeouts, no walks, two hits and he only gave up one run in a losing effort.
Shields pitching performance Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles was a microcosm of the 2012 Tampa Bay Rays season. It was a combination of phenomenal pitching and an offense that has been, quite frankly, offensive.
After the game, Shields told reporters that he felt it was his best start of his career.
“I think so. It was the most strikeouts I have ever had in my career and personally I only think I gave up 1 hit tonight. I thought the other one was an error but I think that was the best game of my career. It is a good one to end on.”
15 K's, no BOB, no more than 2 hits & 1 run allowed: No pitcher in liveball era ever had a loss with a line like this - until James Shields.— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) October 3, 2012
It would be one thing if such an outcome would be a surprise, but it was business as usual for the Rays this season.
In games decided by one run, the Rays are 21-27 in 2012. The loss also marked the fifth time this season the Rays have lost a game 1-0.
There is a lot of speculation over whether or not Shields will be with the team in 2013. After the game, he said that he hopes it wasn't his Rays finale.
“I hope not. I really like it here. I think our pitching staff is the best in baseball and I think we proved that this year. We have a lot of young guys on our staff and I definitely want to be a part of that.”
If Tuesday night was his last performance at Tropicana Field in a Rays uniform, he certainly made it one to remember.
Jamal WIlburg is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand via official Tampa Bay Rays team notes.