When broached with the topic of crummy hitting ruining an encouraging start to the season, manager Robin Ventura offered the following words of encouragement:
“There’s not a lot you can do, this is who we are,” Ventura said.
Perhaps Ventura's words aren't so much encouraging as they are reflective of the fact that he has little in the way of viable alternatives, and can do nothing besides wait for his struggling starters to bounce back. The runs will come...hopefully.
And if they don't, Gavin Floyd can just not allow any hits for 6.1 IP
White Sox 4, Red Sox 1
Gavin Floyd - 6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 111 pitches - Lively breaking stuff all day made for long at-bats, but little contact. Gavin was perfect through 4.2 innings, worked a no-hitter for 6.1, then hit his exhaustion point all at once
Adam Dunn - 1 for 2, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K - Seeing him pull a fastball with maximum authority down the right field line was very encouraging, as he covered up for Konerko missing the day with a stiff neck
Alejandro De Aza - 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K - Continued offensive struggles can't be dropped at the feet of the leadoff man. Well, at least not before they're dropped in several other places
Dayan Viciedo - 2 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 K - A hit! Two hits!!!!
Matt Thornton - 1.1 IP, 2 K, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, SV - Say now, that went well
Josh Beckett - 6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 8 K, 3 BB, 126 pitches - Really settled down after a 3-run 1st inning, but I really only included him here because OH MY GOD HE'S SO SLOW
After losing his no-hitter in the top of the 7th, things began to unravel pretty quickly for Floyd. He allowed a single to Dustin Pedroia, struck out Adrian Gonzalez, but then yielded a double to David Ortiz and a run-scoring single to Cody Ross. With the tying runs in scoring position, Addison Reed came on to face the loathed-and-feared Nick Punto.
Punto naturally worked a 7-pitch at-bat, but Reed induced a weak grounder to 1st, and the Red Sox didn't threaten the game result again. It's great when baseball is boring if your team is winning.
Things Would Be Different If...
The White Sox made their mark in the 1st inning while Beckett was still shaky and experimenting with concepts like 'fastballs splitting the plate and up in the zone'. De Aza worked a 7-pitch at-bat into a single, Rios drove him home after a Lillibridge bunt, and Dunn's blast in the 1st capped the scoring for the inning. It was also was the only extra-base hit on the afternoon, so placing it at the end of a rally was just good timing.
The Sox still aren't piling up the scoring opportunities, but going 2 for 5 with runners in scoring position on the day makes this box score worthy of being stuck on the refrigerator.
A nice end to an awful week. Gavin Floyd followed up Jake Peavy with another dominant performance, and provided some fuel for the belief that this pitching staff can stand up to the top offenses in the league, even if the offense will still betray them time-to-time.
Also of note is that the Sox managed to score four runs without Konerko in the lineup. Konerko being out at all is borderline reason to panic, especially since his absence was responded to by putting Dayan Viciedo's sub-.600 OPS in the DH slot.
Dunn was dominant, Viciedo pulled two balls to left field with authority, and everything seemed to not be nearly as bad as once feared.
Team Record: 11-11, 2nd place in AL Central, 1 GB