Instant Rationalization - Quintana does the job, and it turns out he didn't even have to

Instant Rationalization - Quintana does the job, and it turns out he didn't even have to
Lots of reasons for glad-handing // Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune

The overriding philosophy that justifed picking Jose Quintana to fill in for John Danks was that he was left-handed, Cleveland 's lineup is overwhelmingly left-handed, and maybe he could use that to wander through five of six innings without a huge rally being launched

In response, Cleveland threw in righties Aaron Cunningham, Jose Lopez, and Shelley Duncan, along with mainstays Asdrubal Cabrera and switch-hitting Carlos Santana.

They combined to get one hit off of Quintana.

Jose didn't have much besides well-spotted fastball to work with, but at least had the good sense to realize that early on, and worked it to its highest potential

Another element of White Sox plan was thinking that they could get to Jeanmar Gomez, a pitcher they demolished for eight runs the last time they faced them.

That plan worked.

Gomez was tagged for two home runs, and a three-run rally in the 6th that he just couldn't put down.  The jewels of the Indians bullpen didn't come out to hold a four-run deficit, and there was another blowout in the Cell.

White Sox 9, Indians 3

Key Performers

Jose Quintana - 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K , 107 pitches - He didn't quite sew up the next start, but he made as strong of a case as he could be expected to make, and certainly earned his major league salary.  12 swinging strikes on his fastball.

Alejandro De Aza - 2 for 4, BB, R, 2 RBI - On top of his usual sensational line, singled a 3-2 pitch to right in the 6th to put the game away.

Adam Dunn - 1 for 4, HR, BB, 3 K, 2 RBI - Behold, the prototypical Adam Dunn game.

A.J. Pierzynski - 2 for 3, HR, 3B, BB, 3 R, 2 RBI - Amongst AL catchers, only Joe Mauer is hitting better in terms of wRC+.  Names behind Pierzynski: Matt Wieters, Carlos Santana, Mike Napoli, Alex Avila.

Dayan Viciedo - 2 for 3, HR, BB, 2 R, 2 RBI - In terms of approach as well as results, this was as good of a night that he's had all year.

Orlando Hudson - 0 for 1, 3 BB - Three walks?  For O-Dog?

Turning Point

Cleveland starter Jeanmar Gomez did the hard part of getting out of the 6th inning; he retired Konerko and Rios to start things off, then completely fell apart.

Walking A.J. Pierzynski, Dayan Viciedo, and Orlando Hudson in the same inning is no easy feat, neither is yielding a single to a slumping Alexei Ramirez.  Doing it all in a row without retiring a single batter, capped by a decisive two-run single by Alejandro De Aza made for a three-run inning, a 6-2 lead, and more than enough breathing room to give Quintana his first career win.

Things Would Be Different If...

At some point, Quintana's lack of experience and polish was due to lead to a breakdown in his approach.  Sure enough, he lost his feel for the strike zone in the 5th inning, walking two consecutive batters with Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana coming up.

The tinkering came to a swift close, and Quintana worked his fastball up to Cabrera to induce a pop-up, and got a grounder from Santana to end the threat.  If he hadn't collected himself, this game takes on more of a slugfest tone, and Dylan Axelrod would already be preparing himself to take the next start.

Takeaway

A rousing victory against the division leader is heightened in enjoyment by the sense that the Sox stole a game with Quintana on the hill.

Better yet, the offense the Sox displayed against the worst pitching staff in the league has carried over, with Dayan Viciedo's continued hot streak--and excellent job working a walk in the 6th--serving as the best representation of the lineup's rapid ascent.

 

Team Record: 24-22, 2.5 GB

 

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