It didn’t take long for the White Sox to get to Jake Westbrook today. Westbrook retired the first two batters in the first inning before giving up a double and homerun on back to back pitches before getting out of the 1st inning. Unfortunately, that’s all the Sox needed to get past a lethargic Tribe offense that managed only four hits. The Indians probably asked a little too much out of Jake today, but to be honest; he’s probably also their best option. Today was Westbrook’s first start in almost two years and he looked a little….. rusty. The Indians are going to need Westbrook to do two things this year: eat innings and throw strikes and he did neither of those today. His final line was 4.0+ innings pitched 5 ER, 5 hits and 4 walks with only 1 strike out on 92 pitches; only 47 of which were strikes. Oh, and he only threw 4 wild pitches, which ties an Indian record. Needless to say, this is one that Jake would like to forget about. Aaron Laffey relieved Westbrook with no outs and the bases loaded in the 5th inning, allowing one inherited runner to score on a timely double play. Laffey pitched two scoreless innings of relief, Jensen Lewis threw one and Tony Sipp pitched the 8th giving up a solo shot to Alex Rios.
The Tribe just couldn’t get anything going on the offensive side. Sox starter Mark Buerhle continued his domination of the Tribe throwing seven scoreless giving up no runs on 3 hits; striking out 3 and walking one. Cleveland’s 2, 3 and 4 hitters are lefties, so they may have a difficult time against south paws this season. But I hope that they can put together a little more offense than they did today. As a whole, the Tribe only managed 4 hits, striking out 7 times and only walking once. Cleveland managed to get one player to second base in the third, but didn’t put a runner in scoring position for the remainder of the game. I’ve said it before, but in order for the Indians to win games, they are going to have to score runs and throw strikes. They didn’t do either today.
It’s only one game and it was Jake Westbrook’s first start in two years, but I really hope we aren’t saying “it’s only one game” two or three weeks from now. Slow starts plagued Wedge for his tenure in Cleveland. It would serve Manny Acta well to nip this in the bud and gain the confidence of his fan base.
As an aside, the picture is a probability graph provided by Fangraphs. Basically, both teams start with a 50% probability of winning the game and the ensuing circumstances of play alter those odds. As you can see, the White Sox controlled the game from the outset and the Tribe never really made a push. I will be posting these graphs with my posts and would encourage readers to check out Fangraphs as it is a pretty good resource. Game 2: April 7th in Chicago - 8:05 start.