Sale's Gem Helps Sox Avoid Sweep
After losing the first two games, the Chicago White Sox were able to avoid being swept by the Los Angeles Angels by picking up the victory on Sunday night. The series marked the first time the Sox were playing at home in eight games, and after Sunday’s game they are going right back on the road for seven games. By playing 15 out of 18 games on the road, the Sox are in the midst of one of the toughest parts of their schedule. During the first eleven games of the stretch, the Sox record stands at 5-6.
Here’s how the three-game series went:
Friday, May 10th – Angels 7 White Sox 5
The White Sox offense got off to an early start on Friday with Alejandro De Aza’s leadoff home run (his 7th) off of spot-starter Barry Enright. With scheduled starter Tommy Hanson scratched due to personal reasons, the Sox took advantage of an opportunity to kick-start their offense. The Sox got five runs off of Enright, but were unable to do anything versus the Angels’ bullpen. In addition to De Aza’s homer, Dayan Viciedo added a big 2-run double to bring the Sox within one run in the fourth inning, and later tied it with a Tyler Flowers RBI-single. Viciedo was activated from the disabled list after suffering an oblique strain. With the Sox offense in dire need of a jolt, hopefully Viciedo will be able to provide some extra production to the lineup.
Dylan Axelrod got the ball on Friday, and he struggled a little bit on the night. Following two scoreless frames to start the game, Axelrod ran into trouble in the third inning by allowing four runs to score on five hits to put the Sox in an early 4-1 hole. Axelrod pitched into the seventh inning by going six-plus innings, allowing six runs (five earned), seven hits, one walk, and six strikeouts. Although it wasn’t his best effort, Axelrod did leave the game with the score tied at 5-5, giving the Sox a chance to win the game. However, the offense and bullpen couldn’t bail him out, resulting in his third loss of the season. Axelrod now owns a 0-3 record with a 4.17 ERA and 1.24 WHIP.
Saturday, May 11th – Angels 3 White Sox 2
After having a decent night at the plate on Friday, the White Sox offense reverted back to their scuffling ways. The Sox did record eight hits, but were only able to cross the plate twice in Saturday’s 3-2 loss. The lone bright spot of the game was Dayan Viciedo. Following Friday’s return from the disabled list, “Tank” had a perfect night by going 3-for-3. He also walked once and scored a run. Vicedo has looked good since coming off of the DL, and he appears to be fully recovered from the oblique injury. Hopefully that is the case because oblique injuries can linger, and Viciedo’s violent swings could make him a candidate for re-aggravating the injury.
The White Sox turned to Jose Quintana on Saturday, and he gave the Sox another quality start. Quintana pitched six solid innings, giving up three runs (two earned), five hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. The lefty threw a ton of strikes (72 out of 117 pitches), and kept the ball low in the strike zone by surrendering only three flyouts in the game. Quintana left the game trailing 3-2, and suffered his first loss of the season. “Q” now has a 2-1 record with a 3.72 ERA and 1.22 WHIP on the year, and is proving to be the Sox third most reliable starter behind Chris Sale and Jake Peavy.
Sunday, May 12th – White Sox 3 Angels 0
The White Sox offense didn’t have a great night on Sunday, but with Chris Sale pitching, they didn’t need one. The Sox got eight hits once again, but were able to score one more run than they did on Saturday. Alexei Ramirez led the way with a 3-for-4 effort, and he was responsible for driving in two of the Sox runs on a single in the seventh inning to give the Sox a 2-0 lead. He would later score the third run of the game on an Alex Rios double. Ramirez also swiped two bases on the night, giving him six steals on the season.
Chris Sale was on the mound Sunday night, and he turned in a sterling effort. Sale carried a perfect game into the seventh inning, losing the bid on a single to Mike Trout with one out in the frame. Sale would not allow another hitter to reach base and struck out seven to complete the shutout. It was Sale’s fourth victory of the season, and he lowered his ERA to 2.88 and his WHIP to 0.94 during the nine-inning gem. Sale’s performance was truly a joy to watch, and it showed how dominant he can be when he has his best stuff.
Record: 15-20, Last place in AL Central (5.0 games back)
Up Next: The White Sox go back on the road for a three-game series versus the Minnesota Twins (17-17) starting tonight.
Monday, May 13th at 7:10pm CT: Hector Santiago (1-1, 1.69 ERA) vs. Pedro Hernandez (1-0, 5.96 ERA)
Tuesday, May 14th at 7:10pm CT: Jake Peavy (4-1, 3.03 ERA) vs. Kevin Correia (4-2, 3.09 ERA)
Wednesday, May 15th at 12:10pm CT: Dylan Axelrod (0-3, 4.17 ERA) vs. Mike Pelfrey (3-3, 6.03 ERA)
Prediction: Trailing the Twins by 2.5 games for fourth place, the White Sox can climb out of the cellar with a series sweep versus their division rivals. On paper, the Sox look as though they may have an opportunity to do so with featuring a lower ERA by their starters in each pitching matchup. Since the Sox aren’t playing well at the moment, I am hesitant to predict a sweep, but maybe Chris Sale’s masterpiece on Sunday night will spark this team. Sox take two of three.
Follow me on Twitter @etichel07