In the White Sox 4th consecutive loss, a great pitching performance from Jose Quintana wasn't quite enough, as a 9th inning rally and walk-off single from Nick Swisher got the Indians their 4th win of the season.
Justin Masterson had it going today and you can’t discount that, but some of the plate approaches of these players today had me scratching my head a bit. When you get down in the count, you HAVE to just try and go with pitches and take them where they are pitch. You can’t try and pull everything.
Dayan Viciedo’s two out at-bat in the seventh was a prime example of this today, as he tried to take the 2-2 pitch from Masterson on the outside corner into left field. With a sinker like Masterson’s and you being in defensive mode already with two strikes, that’s not a pitch you are going to pull.
I realize that guys like Tank and Adam Dunn will always be pull hitters and that they should play to their strengths as much as possible, but with two strikes and in a close game, they have got to do a better job of adjusting.
LACK OF EXECUTION
We’ve seen over his whole White Sox tenure that Alexei Ramirez has trouble getting bunts down, and tonight was no different. In the biggest situation in the game, he failed to get down the bunt. I hate playing the “what if” game, but if Alexei gets down the bunt, Hector Gimenez’s ground ball to the right side probably gets through because the Indians would bring the infield in with a man on third and one out (although it’s possible Giminez would change his approach there). Instead, the ground ball moved Conor Gillaspie to third instead of home, and Alejandro De Aza struck out (now double-digits on the year in that category, a disturbing trend). This team won’t live up to our expectations if they don’t execute.
QUINTANA AND THE 'PEN
This was a big start for Jose Quintana, as it was important to see how he responded after the bad first start with the rough end to the season as well. He passed with flying colors, as he quite possibly had his best outing in a White Sox uniform. His one hit allowed set a career-low, and no walks showed exactly the kind of pinpoint control he had.
It was also good to see Matt Thornton have a good relief appearance after giving up big home runs the last two times he was called upon. He was able to locate his fastball and certainly had his best off-speed stuff this season so far. Unfortunately, Jesse Crain could not finish the job. His first-pitch to Nick Swisher got too much of a plate, and Swisher did a nice job of turning on it and send it down the line.
Part of the job description of being an ace is to be that “stopper” that can halt a losing streak. Chris Sale has that opportunity to end this one tomorrow afternoon against Zach McAllister. I’m already tired of writing these losing game wraps. Let’s hope Sale allows Zach Gropper to write a good one tomorrow.
Box Scores via USA Today Online