Sox Avoid Being Swept by KC
After the first six games of an eight game road-trip, the White Sox’ record sits at 3-3 versus two very good teams. Following a series win in Texas, the Sox went to Kansas City hoping to erase some of the bad memories they have recently had there. By losing on Saturday and blowing the lead on Sunday, the Sox appeared destined to be swept by their divisional foe. However, the Sox were able to produce a comeback victory of their own to avoid the sweep.
Here’s what happened in Kansas City:
Saturday, May 4th – Royals 2 White Sox 0
Jeremy Guthrie was on the mound for the Royals, and he continued his dominance over the White Sox. Guthrie pitched a shutout, allowing just four hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. Guthrie now owns a lifetime 2.88 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 112.1 innings versus the Sox. Actually, he’s been even better than that since joining the Royals last season, going 3-0 with a 0.40 ERA in six starts. Paul Konerko’s 2-for-4 game was the only positive of the night, as he accounted for the only extra-base hit.
Dylan Axelrod got the start, and he did his part to beat Guthrie by holding the Royals to just two runs scored. The righty went 7.2 innings, scattering eight hits and issuing just one walk. Axelrod did not strikeout a batter, but threw enough strikes (70/113 pitches) to keep the Sox in the game. Unfortunately, it was yet another wasted performance for Axelrod. The Sox have failed to give him run support all year, and because of that he remains winless despite sporting a solid 3.60 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in six starts.
Sunday, May 5th – Royals 6 White Sox 5 (10 innings)
The White Sox offense struggled to get anything going off of starter Wade Davis, but they would end up taking a 5-3 lead in the top of the seventh inning thanks to a four-run frame. Alejandro De Aza doubled in two runs before scoring on a wild pitch later in the inning. Alex Rios added a solo home run (his 7th) to end the inning which gave the Sox what seemed to be an insurance run at the time.
Jose Quintana got the ball on Sunday, and he battled through his five-plus innings of work. Quintana’s line of 5+ innings, six hits, three runs, two walks, and three strikeouts was much better than it looks like due to poor defense behind him. Regardless of the shoddy defense, “Q” still gave up three-earned runs, but he did leave the offense with a chance to win the game.
Relievers Nate Jones, Matt Thornton, Matt Lindstrom, and Jesse Crain combined to hold the Royals scoreless for three innings, preserving a 5-3 lead for closer Addison Reed. Reed came into the ninth with a perfect 10-for-10 mark in save opportunities, but could not avoid coughing up the lead following back-to-back walks to start the inning. After the Sox failed to score in the top of the tenth inning, Brian Omogrosso was summoned to keep the score tied. However, that would not prove to be the case with Alex Gordon driving in the game-winning run on a single to deep right-center. This was game that the White Sox should have won, and certainly was one of the more disappointing losses of the season.
Monday, May 6th – White Sox 2 Royals 1 (11 innings)
The White Sox’ bats were silent for the first five innings as James Shields carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but they came up big late with the game on the line. Dewayne Wise broke up the no-no with a single to start the sixth, but the Sox wouldn’t cross home-plate until there were two outs in the top of the ninth. Jeff Keppinger, Alex Rios, and Adam Dunn all singled to begin the inning off of closer Greg Holland. With the bases loaded, Paul Konerko grounded into a double-play that resulted in pinch-runner Tyler Greene being forced out a home and Konerko out a first. Conor Gillaspie would be intentionally walked with first base open, setting the stage for Alexei Ramirez. Ramirez hit an infield single up the middle, scoring Rios, but Jordan Danks got caught in no man’s land between third and home to end the inning. Two innings later, Danks came up to the plate in the top of the 11th hoping to make up for his costly mistake, and he did. Danks drilled a pitch near the right-center field fountain to give the Sox an eventual 2-1 win.
Chris Sale went to the bump on Monday and he was dominant. Sale labored through the first two innings, throwing 57 pitches, but the lefty settled down to pitch into the eighth inning. Sale went 7.1 innings, giving up six hits, one run, no walks, and five strikeouts. Sale threw 119 pitches on the afternoon, and he was able to go deep into the game thanks to retiring 15 batters straight from the 2nd to the 7th inning. The performance lowered Sale’s ERA to 3.42 and his WHIP to 1.10.
Relievers Matt Lindstrom, Matt Thornton, and Jesse Crain would combine for 2.2 scoreless innings. The trio allowed just one hit and struck out two batters. After blowing his first save of the season on Sunday, Addison Reed was asked to come right back into a save situation. Reed responded with a 1-2-3 11th inning for his 11th save of the season. It was nice to see Reed put Sunday’s game behind him and get back on track. Even the elite closers blow a handful of saves each year, so hopefully this was just a blip on the radar.
Record: 13-17, Last place in AL Central (6.0 games back)
Up Next: A two-game set to end an 8-game road trip begins with the New York Mets (12-16) on Tuesday.
Tuesday, May 7th at 6:10pm CT: Hector Santiago (1-1, 2.29 ERA) vs. Matt Harvey (4-0, 1.56 ERA)
Wednesday, May 8th at 6:10pm CT: Jake Peavy (3-1, 3.38 ERA) vs. Jeremy Hefner (0-3, 4.34 ERA)
Prediction: These two games in New York present an opportunity for the White Sox to add to their win total. Like the Sox, the Mets are struggling to play consistent baseball. Game 1 features a pitching match-up that would appear to heavily favor the Mets. Matt Harvey is very good and should rack up a bunch of strikeouts against the White Sox’ lineup, but Hector Santiago should also be able to hold his own versus the Mets’ left-handed hitters. I expect this one to be a pitchers’ duel. Normally Jake Peavy versus Jeremy Hefner would be a big advantage for the White Sox, but with Peavy’s back still a potential issue, things could get interesting. With that being said, I don’t think Peavy would be allowed to start unless he was healthy enough to be effective. The White Sox have already scratched Peavy’s last two scheduled starts, so hopefully he is good to go. Sox and Mets split the set.
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