Tuesday night, an error and a drive off of Jake Peavy's foot keyed the Cubs' game-winning rally, a complete game effort from Jake was wasted, and opportunities against an overworked Cubs bullpen went for naught.
If the fates owed something to the White Sox, they were quick to even the balance. Randy Wells' control problems and bloop hits conspired for the first three runs of the night for the Sox, and the Cubs' version of a Zach Stewart start--emptying out the back end of their bullpen from the 4th inning on--quickly made it a rout.
Removed of a great deal of suspense, the better story to emerge from the night was Gavin Floyd, who posted his first quality start in his last seven tries. Gavin's backdoor curveball grabbed outside strikes, the few hanging cutters he left up didn't leave the ballpark, and he came up big in the few situations he faced runners in scoring position. He had next to nothing in the way of swinging strikes, but it is not the time to quibble.
White Sox 7, Cubs 0
Gavin Floyd - 6.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K, 72 of 108 pitches for strikes - Oh man, it has been a while
Gordon Beckham - 2 for 4, HR, 4 RBI - Beckham's opposite field homer was a bit of the USCF-only variety, but on a night where the Sox mainly relied on slowly bleeding Cubs relievers, it was the loudest contact of the night
Alexei Ramirez - 2 for 4, R, RBI - The power is still AWOL, but looking decidedly less hopeless of recent
Alejandro De Aza - 1 for 2, 2 R, 2 BB - He's also in a bit of a power drought, but he's the leadoff man, and he gets on base
Eduardo Escobar - 1 for 3, 2 R, BB, SB - Hey, why not him...for now? [Update: Because]
It's hard to say that this game had any true turning-of-the-tide moment, but when Starlin Castro led off the 6th with a drive to left center that De Aza misplayed into a triple, it was still a 3-o affair with the potential to tighten up if Floyd fell to pieces. Instead, Gavin responded by mowing through the heart of the Cubs over, striking out Bryan LaHair and Alfonso Soriano, freezing the latter with his best curve of the night.
Floyd's success might be linked to the strike zone, but he didn't get gifts, he merely recognized that the corners were being called and used them.
Things Would Be Different If...
....The Cubs had loaded their gun. The North siders' pitching plan for the evening involved giving Randy Wells his first start since April, then emptying out the back of their bullpen with recent waiver claim Jairo Asencio, call-up Scott Maine, and Quad-A longman Casey Coleman.
They also brought in Manny Corpas, who hit Alejandro De Aza in the thigh with a fastball, inducing a long stare. Nothing really came of it.
The losing had to stop sometime, and while bludgeoning a spot starter and rehabilitating Floyd against a poor lineup aren't great mountains to climb, but it's been a long time since anyone went through the motions.
Gavin Floyd easing back into the moderately above-average comfort zone he occupied the last four seasons would make this one of the biggest games of the season, but for now we wait.
Team Record: 36-33, .5 games back