Instant Rationalization – Dominant Sale helps White Sox break through perennially pesky Twins

Instant Rationalization – Dominant Sale helps White Sox break through perennially pesky Twins
Chris Sale being Chris Sale. (Scott Strazzante, Chicago Tribune / May 23, 2012)

Chris Sale chewed up and spit out all of the Twins piranhas, giving up just two hits in seven shutout innings as the White Sox put last night’s misery behind them with a 6-0 blanking of Minnesota.  The White Sox showed the hustle and fundamentals of a major league team, which is a marked improvement over the first game of the series.

The White Sox did a nice job taking advantage of three Minnesota gaffes, scoring three unearned runs off of Twins starter Scott Diamond.  Paul Konerko remained red hot with three more hits and Alex Rios added a rare homer.

But the story of the night was Sale, who continued his masterful 2012 campaign, lowering his season ERA to 2.50.  However, maybe the biggest accomplishment for Sale was keeping his pitch count down, only needing 97 pitches to get through seven innings.

Key Performers

Chris Sale – 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K – Sale brought life back into a White Sox squad that looked like their minds were elsewhere last night.

Paul Konerko – 3 for 4, 3 R, HR, RBI – Paulie continues his tear that has seen his average raised to a robust .381.  He added his 9th HR of the year in the 7th inning for good measure.

Alex Rios – 1 for 4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI – Rios’ homer in the 4th inning gave the Sox a comfortable three run lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Orlando Hudson – 1 for 4, RBI – In his first major league start at third base, the O-Dog made a spectacular play to throw out Ryan Doumit on a swinging bunt.  He added a hit and an RBI, which is more offensive production than the Sox have gotten most of the year from their third basemen.

Turning Point

Adam Dunn’s RBI single in the bottom of the first off of lefty Scott Diamond gave the Sox an early 1-0 lead; but more than that, it allowed Sale to settle in and work with a lead.  Dunn’s single also scored an unearned run, which always takes the life out of the opponent.

Dunn’s resurgence against left-handed pitching this season has quieted many doubters who thought he might not be suited for the third spot in the order.

Things Would Be Different If…

…the Twins didn’t play like the White Sox did last night.  Three Twins errors cost them three runs, which allowed the Sox a comfortable lead for most of the game.  Then again, the Twins would have needed to score some runs to win the game, so the “honorable mention” for turning point of the game goes to when Chris Sale stepped on the mound to start the game.

Takeaway

The White Sox were able to break through the mental block that is the Twins.  They made the Twins look like one of the worst teams in the majors, which they are.  The Sox got a much-needed win at home, raising their home mark to a paltry 8-13.

Chris Sale continued his great 2012 season and also kept his pitch count down, which has arguably been Sale’s one weak spot this year.

Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko continue to pose a “pick your poison” kind of threat from the heart of the order.  If the White Sox can generate constant production out of the fifth spot, the lineup could go from potent to dangerous.

Overall record: 22-22, 3.5 games back of Cleveland

 

Filed under: Game Wraps

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