Monday night's blowout was awful, for sure, but it was also a sly attempt to sneak in a Zach Stewart start, against Matt Garza of all people. It should not have worked, and did not come close to working.
Tuesday was the inverse, Jake Peavy vs. Travis Wood offered an extremely favorable pitching match-up, both pitchers showed the form they have flashed all season long, Cubs reliever Shawn Camp was pushed into a third consecutive day of work, a hanging slider was thrown to Paul Konerko with runners on, and Carlos Marmol was called upon for the save.
And yet, nothing. Which makes the end result a lot worse.
An Alexei Ramirez fly down the right field line that the wind brought back in accounted for the only White Sox extra-base hit of the night, as they fouled off and flied out on accommodating hangers. A three-walk 2nd inning from Travis Wood yielded just one run.
In the mean time, Jake Peavy labored and cursed his way through 125 pitches and all nine innings, only to lose because an Orlando Hudson lollipop throw to 1st and a Tony Campana infield single put two runners on to score on a David DeJesus single.
Cubs 2, White Sox 1
Jake Peavy - CG, 5 H, 2 R, ER, BB, 5 K, 125 pitches - Certainly didn't have his top flight command--as evidenced by all the cursing--but still retired 16 consecutive at one point
Travis Wood - 6 IP, 4 H, ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 89 pitches - Hittable, yet wasn't. Wood got away with challenging righties inside all night, and a Konerko single to left was the only time he was punished.
Dayan Viciedo - 1 for 3, BB - It's strange to think that Dayan reached based twice when his defining moments involved jamming himself furiously on inside fastballs.
Alexei Ramirez - 1 for 4, 2B, RBI - Ground rule double and warning track fly were the biggest blasts of the day.
Orlando Hudson - 0 for 4, 4 LOB, E - Hard to impact the game more.
With one out in the 3rd, Jake Peavy induced an easy grounder down the left field line from Geovany Soto. I mean, it was real easy. So easy that Orlando Hudson stood up straight, patted his glove, and delivered a relaxed throw to 1st...that dragged Konerko entirely off the bag.
When Geovany Soto ran wide of 1st to avoid Konerko's tag, it induced a mad race to the bag that probably wouldn't have mattered if Paul had thought to step on the base rather than dive after the runner. Soto's reaching on an error was immediately followed by Tony Campana hitting a ball off of Peavy's foot for a single, and Tyler Flowers mishandling a slider in the dirt for a wild pitch. It all set up so that when David Dejesus produced the first solid hit of the inning, it scored two runs.
Things Would Be Different If...
...Mistakes were capitalized on. Dayan Viciedo jammed himself on Travis Wood fastballs in the 6th, Adam Dunn just missed taking James Russell deep in the 7th, and Paul Konerko shanked a hanging Manny Corpas slider in the 8th with two runners on. Opportunities were there, results weren't.
Konerko told us this would happen.
One would have to hope this was the floor for the offense's recent struggles, but a lot has already been lost. Five straight series defeats have blown all of the cushion over Cleveland and Detroit, and two straight defeats to the Cubs aren't the best use of an easy slate of schedule before the brutal Yankees, Rangers, Blue Jays stretch before the All-Star break.
Losing a lot of games where Jake Peavy only allows one earned run is a poor habit too. It can't compete for worst game of the year due to his effort, but this is up there with the most damaging.
Team Record: 35-33, .5 GB