Instant Rationalization - Dylan Axelrod, we hardly knew ye

Instant Rationalization - Dylan Axelrod, we hardly knew ye
The stylish high socks weren't enough to keep Dylan Axelrod in the majors. (Gregory Shamus, Getty Images / May 6, 2012)

In a game that introduced White Sox fans to the team’s first candidate to take over the fifth starter’s role, Dylan Axelrod survived.  I use the word “survived,” because Axelrod allowed eight base runners, gave up two home runs and threw 99 pitches in 4 1/3 innings.  Yet, he allowed just two runs.

As Hawk said during the broadcast, “If you were to tell me we’d only be down one after Axelrod left, I’d take it.”  While the objective fan would whole-heartedly agree with that statement, the passionate fan is left to wonder what they have to look forward to in Axelrod.

UPDATE: Axelrod was optioned back to the minors after the game.  A corresponding move will be made before tomorrow’s doubleheader in Cleveland.  That didn’t take long.

Oh yeah, the Sox lost 3-1.  The Sox offense mustered only five hits and struck out nine times, leading the American League in the latter category.  Adam Dunn hit his ninth home run of the season, a rope over the right field wall, but the Sox lost the battle of solo shots 3-1.

Injury note: Dayan Viciedo left the game in the seventh inning after being hit in the right elbow by a pitch.  He has a bruised elbow, which seems to indicate a day-to-day type of situation.

Key Performances

Prince Fielder – 2/3, R, HR, RBI – He hit an absolute rope over the right-center field wall that one-upped Dunn’s line drive homer

Austin Jackson – 2/4, R, HR, RBI – He led off the game with a home run to left field off of Axelrod

Andy Dirks – 2/5, R, HR, RBI – He added a key insurance run on a home run off of Hector Santiago in the bottom of the eighth inning (Santiago has given up an alarming five home runs in only 9 1/3 innings pitched this season)

Rick Porcello – 6 1/3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K – He had the White Sox off balance and his sinker caused many ground balls from White Sox hitters

The fact that there are no White Sox key performances says all there is to know about today’s game.

Turning Point

It seemed as though the White Sox were waiting for the Tigers to seize the game many times, but the Tigers never truly put the game away until Gordon Beckham swung through a high fastball to end the game.

Prince Fielder’s home run in the third inning gave the Tigers the lead and they never looked back.  It seemed like a home run with minimal consequences at the time (as most solo shots in the third inning of a game do), but it gave the Tigers their second run, enough to win today’s game.

Things Would Be Different If…

The White Sox offense didn’t flat out stink, which unfortunately has been more the norm as of late, with the Sox only scoring more than four runs twice in the last 13 games.  Five hits on offense won’t win you a lot of games, especially when your possible fifth starter is on the mound.

On the other hand, the Tigers had many opportunities to blow the game open, leaving 12 on base.  The Tigers squandered bases loaded opportunities in the fifth and seventh innings, which kept the White Sox in the game.

Takeaway

Dylan Axelrod did not impress in his bid to become the White Sox’s new fifth starter, getting optioned back to the minors after the game.  One of the big reasons that the White Sox let Mark Buerhle go (besides the whole money thing) was that they thought Chris Sale would be a viable replacement.  Ventura’s move of Sale to the closer role to “preserve his career” might make Sox fans miss Buerhle even more (if that’s possible).

The White Sox offense continues to sputter, lacking patience at the plate and producing many bad at-bats.  The concerning strikeout trend continues with the nine today, bringing the team’s grand total to 219 whiffs on the young campaign.  The White Sox currently have as many regulars hitting below .225 (Viciedo, Beckham, Ramirez, Morel) as they do hitting over .250 (Konerko, Pierzynski, Rios, De Aza).  That’s never a good combination.

 

Filed under: Game Wraps

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