The Chicago White Sox salvaged the final game of a three-game series versus the Cleveland Indians, snapping a five-game losing streak. Starters Jose Quintana and Jake Peavy both turned in solid seven-inning performances to help give the bullpen some much needed rest. However, the offense was unable to provide the run support necessary to come away with a series win. The White Sox batting average with runners in scoring position continues to be troubling, but the good news is there are still 150 games to go in the season.
Here’s a look at what happen this weekend at Progressive Field:
Friday, April 12th – Indians 1 White Sox 0
The White Sox’ bats were silent as Justin Masterson was masterful on the evening. His slider was probably the best it has ever been, and the White Sox hitters had no answer for the pitch. The Sox managed just five hits on the night, and Conor Gillaspie was the only player to record two hits. With the final score being 1-0, the White Sox had some chances to take the lead, but they were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. This has been a discouraging trend early on, and it would continue throughout the weekend series.
Jose Quintana made his second start of the season, and he was brilliant. The left-hander pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing one hit, and struck out seven. Quintana’s performance was well needed after the White Sox starters struggled in Washington. His ERA now sits at 4.09, but he was not able to pick up a victory with the White Sox’ anemic offense. Despite the poor offensive effort, this was a great game to watch and Quintana’s outing should bode well for the future.
Saturday, April 13th – Indians 9 White Sox 4
The White Sox offense fared a little bit better on Saturday, but they struggled to hit with runners in scoring position once again. The Sox were able to get seven hits and cross the plate four times, but they could have scored more runs. Alejandro De Aza had the biggest blow of the afternoon, a two-run homer in the seventh inning, but that was only one of the few big hits of the day. Outside of the home run, Jeff Keppinger and Alexei Ramirez added most of the other offense by both having multi-hit efforts. As mentioned above, the White Sox were a measly 1-for-7 with RISP, adding to their early season struggles. This is a trend that will have to improve if the White Sox want to contend for a playoff spot.
Chris Sale went to the mound hoping to end a four-game losing, but the lefty just didn’t have it on Saturday. Sale failed to pitch past the fifth inning, completing just 4.1 innings while allowing eight runs to cross the plate. Sale gave up eight hits, walked two, and struck out three. He allowed two home runs, and never seemed to be comfortable out there. Based on Sale’s talent and history, this was probably just a bump in the road, but it certainly was not good timing. The White Sox were hoping for their “ace” to stop the losing streak, but that did not happen as the bullpen was called upon early once again.
Sunday, April 14th – White Sox 3 Indians 1
The White Sox offense did not need to do much with Jake Peavy on the mound, as a pair of home runs provided enough run support to pick up a victory and avoid a sweep. Paul Konerko launched a two-run homer in the 6th inning off of Brett Myers giving the White Sox a 2-1 lead, and Alejandro De Aza added a solo shot in the ninth to pad the lead. Besides the two home runs, Jeff Keppinger and Conor Gillaspie were both able to get two base knocks in four at-bats. Keppinger seems to be breaking out of his early season slump, going 4-for-8 in the final two games of the series. Meanwhile, Gillaspie has been hot ever since entering the lineup while filling in for the injured Gordon Beckham. Gillaspie went 5-for-11 in the series, and now has a .444 batting average on the young season. Neither Keppinger nor Gillaspie offer much power, but the White Sox could desperately use their ability to make contact and frequently get on base with so many free swingers in the lineup. The White Sox offense went 0-for-4 with RISP on Sunday, making it 1-for-15 on the series, and are now an alarming 10-for-73 on the year. That simply needs to change.
The White Sox needed a big game out of Jake Peavy to give the bullpen some rest, and he delivered. Peavy allowed a leadoff homer to Michael Bourn, but settled down to complete seven innings. Peavy allowed just the one run, on five hits, and struck out 11 hitters. Peavy’s now carries a 3.93 ERA and has a 24-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio in 18.1 innings this season. Matt Thornton pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Addison Reed closed out the ninth. Reed now has four saves and one win on the year, accounting for a part in each of the White Sox five victories.
Record: 5-7, 4th place in the AL Central (2 games back)
Up Next: A four game set versus the Toronto Blue Jays (5-7) begins tomorrow night.
Monday, April 15th at 6:07pm CT: Gavin Floyd (0-2, 5.56 ERA) vs. Mark Buehrle (0-0, 10.24 ERA)
Tuesday, April 16th at 6:07pm CT: Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 5.79 ERA) vs. Josh Johnson (0-1, 11.05 ERA)
Wednesday, April 17th at 6:07pm CT: Jose Quintana (0-0, 4.09 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ (2-0, 3.48 ERA)
Thursday, April 18th at 6:07pm CT: Chris Sale (1-1, 5.21 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (1-2, 5.82 ERA)
Prediction: After starting the road trip at 1-5, the White Sox need to sweep the Blue Jays to end the trip with a .500 record. But, that likely won’t happen. Instead, the Sox would benefit from winning 3-of-4 or even settling for a split. Like the Sox, the Blue Jays have struggled out of the gate. Many people, myself included, picked the Blue Jays to win the AL East and contend for a World Series Championship. So, although they are off to a slow start, this will be a tough series. The White Sox will catch a bit of a break as Jose Reyes will be out after suffering a severe ankle injury, but the Sox’ starters will still have their hands full with a talented Jays’ lineup. Toronto’s pitching hasn’t been great, as Buehrle, Johnson, and Dickey have all struggled in their first few starts of the season. Hopefully, the White Sox offense can break-out of their early season woes with runners in scoring position, and get at least a couple of victories. White Sox and Blue Jays split the series 2-2.
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