Angels-White Sox Series: The Good, Bad, and Indifferent
Gavin Floyd, John Danks, and Jose Contreras all turned in solid performances this weekend and certainly were not to blame for the Sox dropping two of three to the Angels.
Floyd threw a complete game on Friday, allowing three earned runs. While the runs he allowed weren't pretty—two were off bases-loaded hit-by-pitches—but outside of his poor fifth inning, he pitched very well and settled down to save the bullpen.
Yes, he walked more (four) than he struck out (three), but Sox fans should be used to that by now. Statistically, he should come back to earth at some point, but for now, the Sox need to capitalize on his starts.
Danks struggled through his five innings of work on Saturday, but only allowed two runs. He frequently got ahead in the count before missing the strike zone while trying to get Angels hitters to chase his pitches. If you ask me, it was because he knew he had to be perfect with Sox-killer Jered Weaver on the mound for the Angels—he knew he coudln't afford to leave one down the middle for a player to crush for a solo home run. Of course, this isn't the right approach, but when you're pitching defensively, it's not good.
Contreras was stellar in the series finale, going eight strong innings while allowing two runs on three hits, no walks, and ten strikeouts. A year ago, seeing Contreras not walk a batter in a start was unheard of. However, this year, Contreras has had four starts in which he has not walked a batter, including two in a row. That, along with the re-emergence of his forkball as an out pitch, have rocketed Contreras back to being one of the premier starters in the American League.
In five innings of work, the White Sox bullpen did not allow a run in this series.
On Saturday, Octavio Dotel relieved Danks and struck out the side with two men in scoring position, holding the Angels to two runs. Nick Masset then entered the game and held the Angels scoreless for 2.1 innings before Boone Logan and Ehren Wassermann finished off the top of the ninth by recording outs of their own, both in pressure-packed situations.
Scott Linebrink continued his spectacular month of May by retiring the Angels in order in the top of the ninth on Sunday, setting up Carlos Quentin’s walk-off home run. Linebrink’s ERA is now down to a minuscule 1.23—think he’s been worth the $19 million contract?
In a nutshell, it was Carlos Quentin who allowed the White Sox to escape this series with the Angels with a victory.
In Sunday's game, Quentin hit a two-run home run in the third and then a walk-off solo shot in the ninth—both off John Lackey—to provide all three White Sox runs for the game.
Quentin now is all alone atop the American League with 14 home runs. He's hitting .301 with 43 RBI and an OPS of 1.023. He's carried this offense and deserves every write-in vote he gets.
I had to include this one because of signs two fans had at Sunday's game. "Draft D. Rose" was great to see (hopefully, Paxson was watching this game), but the best sign from Sunday's game was "Red Sox and Yankees highlights are next." I wish I had thought of that one...
This group looked like they had no clue how to hit Joe Saunders and Jered Weaver on Friday and Saturday, as Saunders allowed just one earned run over 8.1 innings, and Weaver shut out the Sox through 8.0 innings.
Jim Thome continued his slide towards the Mendoza Line, recording just one hit in the series (on a infield dribbler against Weaver). It's getting to the point where Thome is becoming a liability in the fifth spot in this order, and Ozzie Guillen needs to consider dropping Thome down to seventh or eighth in the order until he breaks out of his slump. If he never does, maybe it's time to make a change.
Thome still has power—he has nine home runs—but he so rarely gets base hits and isn't even taking many walks anymore (OBP down to .332), so he really is becoming a liability on offense.
As for the rest of the team, they were baffled as usual by a lefty with a good changeup and Jered Weaver, who now has an ERA of 0.34 against the White Sox in his last four starts against them.
Hopefully, these offensive struggles were because the White Sox faced three fine starters in this series. Hopefully, they can come out and hit the Indians well before a tough series against Tampa Bay looming on the horizon.
Nothing here. If you notice, the only "bad" was the offense. If this team was able to muster any semblance of offensive life in the first two games, we'd be talking about an 11-game White Sox winning streak.
But I guess that's baseball.
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