Looking to cheer up White Sox fans about the new Sale-less rotation, Jake Peavy continued his run of excellent starts against the still-feared Tigers offense.
Perhaps Jake was left in too long, perhaps he was inefficient with his pitches, but he delivered the bullpen a one-run lead with four outs to go.
His lead was built mostly by Gordon Beckham, who is now not only hitting extra-base hits, but hitting multiple extra-base hits in the same game. He's also not only having good games, but having multiple good games within the same week.
But alas, after Matt Thornton escorted the Sox out of the 8th, his attempt at a four-out save was cut short by a game-winning Jhonny Peralta two-run homer, and the Tigers took it 5-4.
From everything I saw, the Detroit fans were thrilled by these events.
Jake Peavy - 7.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 6 K, 1 BB, 122 pitches - He really struggled with Alex Avila, and allowed the most runs he's let up in any start since the second game of the season. His ERA is still under 2.00
Gordon Beckham - 3 for 4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI - He was pull-happy all night, including a 91-mph fastball from Octavio Dotel for a go-ahead two-run HR in the 7th. At this point, none of the other uninspiring candidates for the #2 hole are hitting better
Paul Konerko - 2 for 3, BB - Nothing to see here, just Konerko reaching base three times and finishing the day with a .439 OBP
Alex Rios - 0 for 4 - He's back...to struggling
Matt Thornton - 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 HR - One pitch, and his night is spent in regret. Such is the life of a reliever.
Thornton missed his spot up and out over the plate, but that hardly minimizes the feat of Jhonny Peralta hitting an opposite field HR in Comerica Park to win it in the bottom of the 9th. It'll be a lot easier to remember why everyone was terrified of this lineup if that keeps happening.
Things would be different if...
Ventura certainly could be said to have left Peavy in too long, and perhaps it's easier to see why they were worried about Sale if this is the workload expected from starters. Reversing the wrong of the 8th inning maybe prevents Miguel Cabrera's RBI single, and theoretically pushes the game into extras, where, perhaps something good would have happened.
As for the selection of Thornton. He was rested, and has done well this season overall. Now he's got back-to-back outings where he's allowed home runs.
But by Monday, Chris Sale would be closing, and this decision becomes easy for as long as his elbow holds up. In other words, it's a mystery.
At this point, the losses are piling up so frequently that it doesn't matter if it was simply a bad break in a close game, where a reliable reliever failed in a tight situation with a pitch that wasn't that bad.
The Sox are 12-14, they've lost 8 of 10, they just wasted their second-straight great Jake Peavy outing, and lost Chris Sale from the rotation.
Things are not looking up. Gordon Beckham has reached base 9 time in his last 16 trips to the plate, and the Sox are still in trouble.