The Chicago White Sox ended up splitting their four-game series versus the Toronto Blue Jays by winning on Wednesday before dropping the series finale on Thursday. The series split brought the White Sox 10-game road trip to a disappointing 3-7 record. If there was one bright spot, it would be that the Sox were able to win three of the final five games after losing the first five games to begin the trip. Now that it is over, the White Sox will look to string together some victories with a scheduled 10-game home-stand. That will have to wait another day, as Friday’s opener versus the Minnesota Twins was postponed due to cold and windy weather in the city of Chicago. No make-up date has been announced.
Here’s how the road trip ended:
Wednesday, April 17th – White Sox 7 Blue Jays 0
The White Sox offense broke out on Wednesday in a big way. The South Siders cranked out 11 hits and scored 7 runs off of Blue Jay pitching. The 7-0 rout is now the largest margin of victory of the season for the Pale Hose. Leading the offensive charge was the bottom of the order. Dayan Viciedo, Alexei Ramirez, and Tyler Flowers went a combined 6-for-11 with four RBIs and four runs scored. Flowers provided the big blow, a 3-run bomb to right-center, to give the White Sox an early 3-0 lead in the 2nd inning. This is exactly what the White Sox needed and would love to see happen more often. When the bottom of the order can get on-base consistently, this offense becomes really dangerous with the amount of power that it possesses. The Sox would go on to score four more runs, with Alex Rios adding his 5th homer of the season.
Although the offense provided seven runs of support, starter Jose Quintana only needed one because he was absolutely brilliant. The young lefty went 6.2 innings strong, allowing no runs on only five hits and two walks. “Q” struck out seven batters and was really on top of his game, as evident by throwing 72 strikes out of 104 pitches. Quintana has rebounded quite nicely after a rough first start of the season. He has now has thrown 13.2 consecutive scoreless innings, and his season ERA now sits at 2.55. Relievers Jesse Crain and Donnie Veal combined to finish the final 2.1 innings to complete the shutout. It was great to see the pitching staff not let up after being spotted with an early lead to give the Sox a rare easy victory in the 2013 season.
Thursday, April 18th – Blue Jays 3 White Sox 1
On Thursday, the White Sox offense was shut down following the brief outburst on Wednesday. Alex Rios, Dayan Viciedo, Alexei Ramirez, and Tyler Flowers accounted for the only hits on the night, with Flowers driving in the lone run on a RBI double. Toronto starter R.A. Dickey was dominant, as his knuckleball gave the Sox fits throughout the game. The White Sox appeared to catch a potential break with Dickey leaving after six innings due to soreness in his neck and back, but the Blue Jay’s bullpen would hold onto the lead.
The White Sox sent Chris Sale to the bump, and he pitched well. Sale went seven solid innings, giving up 3 runs (2 earned), on four hits, one walk, and six strikeouts. The numbers looked good after Sale was able to find his rhythm. He struggled to find a consistent release point with his slider, leaving a few up in the zone, but got away with some mistakes. Sale pitched well enough to get the win, but obviously that was not the case. However, if he can have more outings like this one, then the wins will start to pile up. Nate Jones came on in the 8th inning and pitched a scoreless frame.
Record: 7-9, 4th place in AL Central (2.5 games back)
Up Next: After Friday’s postponement, the White Sox will now take on the Minnesota Twins (6-7) for two games to end the weekend.
Saturday, April 20th at 2:05pm CT: Jake Peavy (2-1, 3.93 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (0-2, 10.50 ERA)
Sunday, April 21st at 1:10pm CT: Gavin Floyd (0-3, 6.32 ERA) vs. Scott Diamond (0-1, 8.31 ERA)
Prediction: The White Sox need to get back on track versus their division opponent. Coming into the year, the Twins were thought by many to be the weakest team in the American League Central. Saturday’s pitching matchup heavily favors the Sox with Peavy against Worley, while Sunday’s probable’s feature two struggling hurlers. Minnesota has had plenty of success against Floyd (5.71 ERA in 18 starts), so winning both games might be tough. Call me crazy, but I think Floyd is due for a good game given his inconsistent tendencies. Given that, the White Sox should be able to get back in the win column at least once. Sox win both games and get back to .500.
Follow me on Twitter @etichel07