Instant Rationalization – You’ve got to be bleepin' me!

Instant Rationalization – You’ve got to be bleepin' me!
Yeah, it was that kind of night. (Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune, June 18, 2012)

Coming into the game, even the casual baseball fan knew that the Cubs had a decisive pitching advantage, with Matt Garza going up against Zach Stewart.  Stewart was called into action because the Sox wanted to give Jake Peavy and Chris Sale some extra rest.

But nobody could have predicted the outburst by the Cubs offense, which produced a season-high 12 runs on 15 hits, including five home runs in a 12-3 lambasting by the Cubs.  Stewart did not impress anybody in his opportunity to prove himself as a starting pitcher.

As if the game wasn’t painful enough, the Sox announced that John Danks has a grade one tear of the subscapularis area in the pitching shoulder and is out indefinitely.

Key Performers

Luis Valbuena –  3-5, 1 R, HR, 3 RBI -  His three-run homer off of Nate Jones put the exclamation mark on the Cubs’ best offensive output of the season.

Starlin Castro – 3-5, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI – His two-run shot in the fourth gave the Cubs a four run lead and they took off from there.

Alfonso Soriano – 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI – His massive solo home run to the vines in center field continued to up his trade value.

Zach Stewart – 5 2/3 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 1 K – He gave up four more home runs, possibly signing his ticket to the minor leagues.

Turning Point

Starlin Castro’s two-run, wind-aided homer in the fifth inning doubled the Cubs lead and officially set the rout in motion.  Castro took a Zach Stewart change-up that was left right over the plate out to the first row of bleachers in left-center field.

Alfonso Soriano followed later on in the inning with an absolute blast to the hedges in center field to make it 5-1.  It was only a matter of time until the Cubs took advantage of the wind blowing out against Stewart.

Things Would Be Different If…

…Jake Peavy didn’t need the extra rest, because with Zach Stewart, the good guys didn’t stand a chance.  The Cubs hit Stewart for four runs, including two homers, in just one inning during the series at Wrigley Field.  Stewart gave up four more homers tonight, raising his total to an astounding ten home runs allowed in just 30 innings.

Takeaway

The White Sox need starting pitching help and pronto.  It seems as though this is the takeaway anytime someone not named Peavy, Sale or Quintana takes the mound.  When a team’s two best pitchers include one that has had three straight injury-plagued years before this year and the other who has had injury concerns after being moved from the rotation to the bullpen and back to the rotation again.

The Sox have now lost five of their last six games to the supposedly inferior National League and their division lead continues to shrink.

Overall record:  35-32, .5 games up on Cleveland

Filed under: Game Wraps

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