The Chicago White Sox have momentarily stopped the bleeding by winning two of the final three games of a four-game set with the Oakland Athletics. While getting back-to-back wins to earn a series split is certainly nice, it by no means should be argued that the White Sox have “turned the corner”. The Sox still struggled to score runs over the weekend, and they have a long way to go just to get back to .500, let alone to start thinking about contending again.
Here’s what happened at “The Cell” the past three days:
Friday, June 7th – Athletics 4, White Sox 3
For the first five innings, the White Sox appeared to have a “commanding” 3-0 lead with Chris Sale on the mound. The Sox got three runs in three consecutive innings beginning with a solo home run from Tyler Flowers in the 3rd. It was the 5th homer of the year for Flowers, who enjoyed a rare 3-for-3 night. The Sox got their other two runs on sacrifice flies by Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza in the fourth and fifth innings respectively. But, that would be it for the Sox, as they only mustered five hits on the night.
As mentioned, Chris Sale got the start and was given a 3-0 lead after five innings. Sale appeared well on his way to picking up his 6th win of the season before he ran into trouble in the 6th inning. Sale allowed two singles and a walk, before serving up a grand-slam to Josh Donaldson. The homer would seal Sale’s fate, as he suffered his 4th loss of the season. Sale pitched 7.1 innings, while giving up five hits, two walks, and picking up six strikeouts. Despite the loss, Sale still owns a sparking 2.68 ERA and 0.92 WHIP on the year.
Saturday, June 8th – White Sox 4, Athletics 1
Saturday’s game was one of the most enjoyable games to watch all season. Adam Dunn (14th HR) and Paul Konerko (6th HR) both went yard on the day, and Alex Rios picked up a RBI with a single in the 8th inning. Other than that, the White Sox offense didn’t do much, but not much was needed with John Danks on the hill.
John Danks was outstanding. After allowing a run on two singles and a walk in the first inning, Danks cruised through eight innings. Danks would allow a leadoff single in the 2nd inning, but then proceeded to retire the next 21 batters en-route to his first victory in over a year. Danks allowed just three hits, a walk, and struck out six batters during his masterpiece. The start was a very encouraging sign for Danks and the White Sox. Coming off of shoulder surgery, the one worry with Danks was his control. So far, in 24 innings pitched, Danks has issued just three walks and has 18 strikeouts. If Danks can keep the walks to a minimum, then he should be close to pitcher we saw win 40 games from 2008-2010.
Addison Reed worked around a leadoff single to register his 18th save of the season. Reed gave up five earned runs in his previous outing, so it was nice to see him bounce-back with a scoreless frame.
Sunday, June 9th – White Sox 4, Athletics 2
The White Sox only scored four runs, but once again it would prove to be enough. Tyler Flowers cranked out his 2nd home run in three games and now has six long balls on the year. In the fourth inning, the Sox added two runs on a sacrifice fly by Conor Gillaspie and a RBI-double by Gordon Beckham. Later, Alex Rios added an insurance run with a solo homer in the 8th inning, his 11th of the season.
Hector Santiago got his first start since rejoining the starting rotation in place of the injured Jake Peavy. However, it appeared Santiago never left the rotation by pitching very effectively for 6.1 innings. Santiago allowed just two runs (one earned), on four hits, three walks, and six punch-outs. Santiago threw a lot of pitches early, but was able to settle down and finish the day with 107 pitches. Because he has a tendency to get wild at times, Santiago’s WHIP is a bit high at 1.31, but his 3.12 ERA is more than serviceable. I know I’ve said this a few times before, but Santiago is a starting pitcher and he needs to remain in the rotation. While he will never be an “ace”, or even a “number two starter”, Santiago has the stuff to be a very solid “middle of the rotation” starter in the American League.
Addison Reed struck out two batters during a perfect ninth inning to pick up his 19th save of the season.
Record: 27-34, Last place in AL Central (9.0 games back)
Up Next: The White Sox continue their home-stand with a three game series with the Toronto Blue Jays (27-35) that starts tonight.
Monday, June 10th at 7:10pm CT: Dylan Axelrod (3-4, 3.73 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (5-7, 4.66 ERA)
Tuesday, June 11th at 7:10pm CT: Jose Quintana (3-2, 3.95 ERA) vs. Chien-Ming Wang (0-0, -.-- ERA)
Wednesday, June 12th at 7:10pm CT: Chris Sale (5-4, 2.68 ERA) vs. Esmil Rogers (1-2, 3.60 ERA)
Prediction: Call me crazy, but I think the White Sox have a chance to win every game this series. Toronto has failed to live up to their lofty expectations, and their starting rotation has been hampered with injuries. R.A. Dickey will start tonight, and as you can see by his numbers, he has had a hard time adjusting to the American League so far. Chien-Ming Wang will make his season debut on Tuesday, and Esmil Rogers is nothing special in the series finale. That being said, the Sox have one of the worst offenses in baseball, and will likely struggle to score runs against at least one of these starters. Sox win two of three.
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