This weekend is all about getting back on track for these White Sox, and tonight was a step in that direction with an easy 6-0 win. At this point, you will take the wins any way you can get them, and there is no such thing as a bad win. Here are my insights on this one…
OFFENSE VIA SOMETHING OTHER THAN THE HOME RUN (AND VICIEDO WALKED? TWICE?!?!?!)
Maybe the Mayans were right and the world is really going to end this December? Two reasons why: the Sox actually scored five of their runs via something other than the home run, and Dayan Viciedo walked two times in one game! If one of those things happen, sure, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every once in a while, but both of those things in the same game? Has to be proof that the planets are aligning!
Sarcasm aside, we do have Esmerling Vasquez to thank for a lot of this, as for a while he couldn’t find the strike zone with a GPS tonight. If you issue two walks to Dayan Viciedo, once with the bases loaded, then you have a control problem. However, as I said above, you take the wins any way you can get them when you are a game up in the division in mid-September. It was good to see them not wait around for the home run and strike out or hit lazy pop-ups in key situations. It looked like the hitters went up there with a definite plan every single at-bat today and weren’t pressing as much. Now, that’s a lot easier to do against the lowly Twins than the Tigers, but it’s certainly a start.
Chris Sale had this one on cruise control, as he allowed just four base runners in six innings of work. Sale had struggled recently on the road, so seeing him have a shutdown game away from 35th and Shields is encouraging. I liked that we decided to pull him after 99 pitches with a comfortable lead, even though he probably had more left in the tank. His next start is against a team that has given the Sox and specifically Sale some trouble this year: Kansas City. Knowing the competitor that Sale is, I’m sure he’s antsy to face those guys again.
MYERS AND THORNTON WORK THINGS OUT
With a comfy lead, Robin Ventura had the opportunity to allow two of his struggling relievers to work out their problems. Brett Myers and Matt Thornton both looked sharp tonight, and I think this game may go a long way in giving these guys their confidence back. The Sox certainly need both of these guys to be big down the stretch.
RED HOT YOUK
Kevin Youkilis homered for the third time in the past two games tonight. This one was of the solo variety, as it was a no-doubter into the left field bleachers. Many people (myself included) wanted Youk out of the two-hole in the lineup just a few days ago. If he continues to have a hot bat, though, he’s going to stay right where he is at.
The Sox will send Francisco Liriano to the bump tomorrow to face Samuel Deduno. Jose Quintana was originally scheduled to start, but Ventura has elected to give Q two extra days rest and pitch him in the make-up game against Detroit on Monday. Jake Peavy will still start on Sunday in the series finale against the Twins, and Gavin Floyd has been pushed back to Tuesday’s series opener in Kansas City.