Instant Rationalization - This pitcher's duel doesn't sting

Instant Rationalization - This pitcher's duel doesn't sting
A cool moment // Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

Going into the 10th inning without knowing where the scoring is coming from is a familiar, and unwelcome feeling for the South siders.

For the second straight Sunday, the White Sox couldn't deliver Jose Quintana a win after eight shutout frames, as Milwaukee fill-in starter Michael Fiers stepped in from the bullpen and baffled White Sox hitters with his big, slow curveball for seven and a third innings.

Even with all their troubles, the Sox threatened to close it out for the last three innings of the contest.

  • 8th - Runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out was spoiled by back-to-back strikeouts by Beckham and Dunn
  • 9th - Orlando Hudson came up with the bases loaded and two outs, and fittingly popped out in what's probably his last game as a full-time 3rd basemen
  • 10th - Eduardo Escobar (not getting traded!) sent a liner to the gap to drive home Alejandro De Aza, and score the game's first run

Addison Reed and a wild inning from Brian Bruney kept Jose Quintana's shutout alive, on what was an altogether dominant showing from the pitching staff.

White Sox 1, Brewers 0 - F/10 innings

Key Performers

Jose Quintana - 8 IP, 6 H, 0 R, o BB, 4 K, 101 pitches - His ERA is now 1.25, and he hasn't walked any of the last 97 batters he's faced.  He should probably be allowed to ride this out.

Addison Reed - IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K - Pitching competently on three consecutive days is not easy.

Alejandro De Aza - 2 for 5, 2B, R, 2 K - Getting on base continues to be a highly useful skill for him.

Eduardo Escobar - 1 for 1, GW RBI - The only hitter not made to look foolish at any point.

Alex Rios - 0 for 4, 2 K - Useless at the plate, but more on his defense in a second.

Turning Point

With the winning run on 2nd base in the bottom of the 10th, Eduardo Escobar came in to pinch-hit for no other reason than Brent Lillibridge had just been included in a trade for Kevin Youkilis.

A man who otherwise would have no business pinch-hitting, drilled a high fastball into left-center for the walk-off, and promptly had his life put at risk by a bear hug from Adam Dunn.

Things Would Different If...

The game would not have gone to extras if not for Alex Rios.  In the 4th inning, Cory Hart drilled a ball to right field that was set to clear the wall before a leaping Rios snagged it as he collided with the fence.

It's hard to really be sure if Rios saw the ball into the glove--he was just getting up in the air by the time the ball arrived, and his glove arm looked to be shielding his eyes.  The method is not particularly important, however.

Takeaway

Change is coming to an offense that's been on quite a streak of blowing pitching gems of recent, but surviving one more day of sporting a black hole at the end of the lineup paid a lot of immediate dividends.

The Sox moved back into first place with the victory and won their first series in six tries.

Just as importantly, there was one more entry on the positive side of the ledger of the 'Is Jose Quintana real?' debate.  Since there are two starters on the DL who weren't much to admire before they went, it's pretty important that the answer of that question turns out to be 'yes'.

 

Team Record: 38-34, .5 games up

Comments

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  • Also notable is "how many Sox runners were left at third?"

    Also Tony Plush being thrown out at third in a bizarre play.

  • In reply to jack:

    Bizarrely foolish. When Pierzynski first threw the ball to 3rd, I thought he had forgot how many strikes there were.

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