Instant Rationalization - Bizarro World: White Sox beat Tigers in most improbable ways

Instant Rationalization - Bizarro World: White Sox beat Tigers in most improbable ways
In the "Bizarro World," Dayan Viciedo very well might have four arms. (Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune / May 14, 2012)

It’s not often that a team wins a game when its starting pitcher gets knocked out after just three innings.  It’s also pretty rare for a sub-.200 hitter to lead a comeback that saw his season RBI count nearly doubled in one game.  And yet, both happened Monday night as the White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 7-5 in the first of a brief two game series.

But tonight’s oddities didn’t end there.  Adam Dunn hit a home run off a lefty for the first time as a member of the White Sox (his last homer off a lefty was in August of 2010).   Matt Thornton pitched a scoreless inning in relief for the first time in May.  Hector Santiago didn’t give up a homer.

Okay, while the last point might have been a little facetious, tonight’s Sox victory served as a reminder as to why baseball is such a great game.  Anything can happen on any given night, and unlike other sports, there are 162 opportunities to see weird, head-scratching things that can make fans feel like they live in a Bizarro World.

Key Performers

Dayan Viciedo – 2/3. 2 R, HR, 4 RBI - His two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning gave the Sox a fighting chance; his two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning gave the Sox the lead for good

Zach Stewart – 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K – The unsung hero of the game, Stewart got out of Danks’ jam in the 4th inning and proceeded to keep the Tigers at bay for three innings

Adam Dunn – 1/4, 1 R, HR, 2 RBI – His first home run off of a lefty since 2010 in the bottom of the first inning provided a nice answer to the three-spot the Tigers put up in the top half of the inning.  The homer also gave Dunn 12 on the year, surpassing his total of 11 the entire 2011 season

John Danks – 3 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 0 K – His worst outing of the year continued his abysmal season.  Danks’ ERA rose to 6.46 and his outing marked the third time he’s given up five or more runs in his last four starts

Turning Point

Dayan Viciedo’s two-run homer off of Drew Smyly in the bottom of the fifth inning brought the White Sox within one and seized the momentum for the “Good Guys.”  Laird wanted the pitch middle-in, a trouble area for Viciedo, but “Tank” hit a bomb to left-center on a pitch out over the plate.

Viciedo built on his own momentum by connecting for a go-ahead two-RBI single the very next inning and the Sox never looked back.

Things Would Be Different If…

...Miguel Cabrera’s foul ball down the third baseline in the second inning is called fair.  When Hawk didn’t offer an opinion on third base umpire Gerry Davis’ foul call, fans got the feeling the Sox caught a break.  Replays showed that the ball was actually fair and the Sox did indeed catch a huge break.

The Tigers would have most likely scored two on the would-be double, which would have put the Tigers up 5-2 and would have put Danks on the ropes even sooner in the game.

Instead, the White Sox battled back for a key win against a divisional opponent, winning by the two runs that Cabrera might have knocked in if his grounder was called fair.

Takeaway

Believe the unbelievable.  Seasoned baseball fans should already know that oddities happen during every baseball season, but the amount that occurred in tonight’s game made it seem like the Sox were living in Bizarro World.

It remains to be seen whether Viciedo can build on tonight’s solid performance, but he should at least get the start tomorrow.  Adam Dunn continued his amazing turnaround, looking increasingly comfortable against lefties, which is important for the team’s #3 hitter.

John Danks was the only negative in the game, but it continues to remain a big issue.  It’s clear that Danks seems to have less movement on his pitches than years past and his poor location doesn’t do him any favors.  It’s interesting to wonder whether his new five-year, $65 million deal has caused him to put extra pressure on himself.  It’s definitely plausible.

The White Sox look to “sweep” and the Tigers in their brief two-game set and overtake them in the standings with Jake Peavy taking on Max Scherzer in a Tuesday matinee.

Team Record: 17-19, 2.5 GB

Side note: The White Sox won for the first time in a game for which I wrote a recap.  More proof supporting the Bizarro World!

Comments

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  • Hey Kevin,

    I don't think you meant to write that Danks' outing "marked the third time he’s given up 7 or more runs..." He allowed a mere 5 in 3 IP.

    Nice recap otherwise.

    Chris

  • In reply to Chris Lamberti:

    Hey Chris,

    Thanks for pointing that out. I meant five instead of seven and it is fixed. Thank you very much for reading!

    Kevin

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