After Monday’s loss and following Tuesday’s rainout, the Chicago White Sox needed to win Wednesday’s series finale in order to earn and split with the Cleveland Indians. Fortunately, the White Sox were able to get the job done, snapping a four-game losing streak. The pitching was solid once again, but the offense remains to be an issue. With the season getting older every day, the offensive woes are starting to become more worrisome. One would think that the Sox’ bats will eventually wake up, but it needs to happen sooner, rather than later in order to avoid another prolonged losing streak. Even with Wednesday’s victory, the White Sox have lost 10 of their last 14 games.
Here’s what happened during the rain-shortened series:
Monday, April 22nd – Indians 3 White Sox 2
I am starting to sound like a broken record, but the White Sox were only able to get five hits on the night, leading to another low-scoring output. Jeff Keppinger and Conor Gillaspie did most of the “damage” by recording two hits apiece, with Gillaspie cranking out his first home run of the season. Backup catcher Hector Gimenez was responsible for the other run scored with an RBI double to give the Sox a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning. The offense went silent for the remaining of the game, and allowed the Indians an opportunity to steal a victory from the bullpen.
Dylan Axelrod made his fourth start of the season, and it was a good one. The righty went six strong innings, giving up just one run, on three hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. Axelrod has pitched nicely filling in for the injured John Danks, and now sports a 3.80 ERA on the season. While he has pitched well enough to win three of his four starts, Axelrod remains winless on the year thanks in large part to a lack of run support.
Jesse Crain came on to pitch a scoreless seventh inning to hold the lead, before giving the ball to Matt Thornton. After retiring the first batter, Thornton gave up a single and issued a walk to put the winning run on base. With Drew Stubbs leading from second base, Thornton threw the ball into center field trying to pick off Stubbs, allowing both runners to move up 90 feet. That led to a two-RBI single by Asdrubal Cabrera to give the Indians a 3-2 lead and eventual victory. Thornton is off to a rough start this season and needs to be more reliable if the bullpen is going to remain a strength this year.
Wednesday, April 24th – White Sox 3 Indians 2
Guess how many hits the White Sox had on Wednesday? That’s right, FIVE! This was the third game in a row that the Sox recorded exactly five hits, but unlike the first two games, Wednesday’s effort would be enough to pick up a much needed victory. Jeff Keppinger had an RBI single in the first inning after Alejandro De Aza’s lead-off walk and stolen base. After struggling mightily to start the year, Keppinger now has four hits and three RBIs in his last three games. Four innings later, Alex Rios launched a two-run shot to left to give the Sox a 3-0 lead. That lead would be enough support for the pitching staff to secure a series split. Rios now has six homers and 11 RBIs on the year.
Jose Quintana was trying to be the Sox’ stopper and he delivered a solid performance. The lefty breezed through the first five innings, but was unable to record an out in the sixth. Quintana issued a lead-off walk before allowing back-to-back singles to begin the sixth, ending Quintana’s day. Nate Jones was called on to get out of the inning, and did so after allowing a second run to score on a sacrifice fly. “Q” ended the afternoon by pitching five-plus innings, giving up two runs, on four hits, two walks, and three strikeouts. His season ERA now sits a 2.78, to go along with a 1.06 WHIP.
Following Jones’ two innings of work, Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain combined to pitch a scoreless eighth. Closer Addison Reed finished out the game for his sixth save in as many chances. The bullpen combined to pitch four scoreless frames, allowing just a hit, one walk, and three strikeouts.
Record: 8-12, Last place in AL Central (3.5 games back)
Up Next: The White Sox will host the Tampa Bay Rays (9-11) for a four-game set starting Thursday night.
Thursday, April 25th at 7:10pm CT: Chris Sale (1-2, 4.50 ERA) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 3.55 ERA)
Friday, April 26th at 7:10pm CT: Jake Peavy (2-1, 3.20 ERA) vs. Roberto Hernandez (1-3, 4.74 ERA)
Saturday, April 27th at 6:10pm CT: Gavin Floyd (0-3, 4.98 ERA) vs. Matt Moore (4-0, 1.04 ERA)
Sunday, April 28th at 1:10pm CT: Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 3.80 ERA) vs. David Price (0-2, 5.52 ERA)
Prediction: April has proven to be a tough month for the South Siders, but they still have five more games remaining to try to get things going heading into May. With four games versus the Tampa Bay Rays, the White Sox will be looking to win their first series in three weeks. With the way the probable pitchers have lined up, the Sox should have a chance to win the first two games of the series. Hopefully, they can because Matt Moore and David Price round out the series for the Rays. White Sox and Rays split the series.
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