Delayed Rationalization - The bullpen says “No way, Jose!” yet again

Delayed Rationalization  - The bullpen says “No way, Jose!” yet again
This one really stings. (Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE, US PRESSWIRE / July 19, 2012)

That was quite a mighty fine punch to the gut.  Sox fans can pick their favorite cliché to describe the kerfuffle the White Sox now find themselves in after a gut-wrenching 3-1 loss to Cody Ross and the Red Sox.

It was Ross again who burned the White Sox, hitting a walk off three-run homer off of Addison Reed in the ninth inning to spoil a masterful performance from White Sox starter Jose Quintana.  Amazingly, tonight marked the third game in which Quintana has pitched eight scoreless innings and didn’t get the win.

Quintana worked his way out of jams in the seventh and eighth innings and Robin Ventura decided to let Matt Thornton start the ninth instead of bringing back Quintana at 103 pitches.   Thornton allowed two hits, while only recording one out before Addison Reed came in and served up the walk off home run to Ross.

One of the many great things about the game of baseball is that a heart-breaking loss can be forgotten the very next day, which the White Sox need to do as they battle the fast-approaching Detroit Tigers over the weekend.

Key Performers

Jose Quintana – 8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 K – Quintana once again dominated a good hitting team and came away without the “W.”  While it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly has made Quintana into such a good pitcher, his low walk total is a good place to start.

Alexei Ramirez – 2-4 – Not only was Alexei one of only two White Sox to have a multi-hit game (Konerko was the other), but his tremendous play to start an inning-ending double play in the seventh inning allowed the Sox to maintain their slim1-0 lead.

Cody Ross – 2-4, 1 R, HR, 3 RBI – Ross stared long and hard at his game-winning home run, which capped off a two game stretch that saw him hit three homers and drive in nine runs.

Clay Buchholz – 8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K – Buchholz almost matched Quintana pitch for pitch, giving the Red Sox every chance to win the game

Turning Point

After Matt Thornton gave up a leadoff single to Carl Crawford to start the ninth inning, Dustin Pedroia hit a tailor-made double play grounder to third.  Eduardo Escobar, in for the injured Kevin Youkilis, threw a horribly low feed to Gordon Beckham, who made an amazing play just to pick it and record the force out.

Instead of two out and nobody on, there was one on and one out.  Adrian Gonzalez proceeded to single and then Ross hit the much too frequently mentioned walk off blast.

Things Would Be Different If…

…Robin Ventura learned his lesson from the June 17th game against the Dodgers in which Quintana was pulled after eight scoreless innings only to see Addison Reed blow it in the ninth inning.

Quintana was only at 103 pitches after eight innings tonight, a pitch total that would have seen the “carefully monitored” Chris Sale come back and try to close out the game, as was seen in last Sunday's victory over the Royals.  Why should Quintana be treated any differently than Sale?

Takeaway

It’s been written in previous recaps how big of a question mark the White Sox starting rotation is because of injuries.  Well even more concerning, the bullpen appears to even be a bigger question mark because of a lack of talent.

Matt Thornton seems to be very hesitant about throwing his secondary pitches, and as a result, he’s been getting hit quite hard of late.  Addison Reed has a nice slider, but has also been relying a lot on his fastball of late.  It’s nearly impossible to succeed at the major league level on just one pitch, especially if it’s a fastball.

If relievers such as Thornton, Reed and Jones don’t start succeeding and relying more upon their secondary pitches, they become no better than past fire-ballers such as Andy Sisco and David Aardsma, who have taught us that you can’t survive by just bringing the heat.

As Hawk would say, it’s time for the White Sox to “cinch it up and hunker down” as they travel to Motown to battle Justin Verlander and the Tigers, who now only sit a game and a half back.

Overall Record: 50-42, 1.5 games ahead of Detroit

Filed under: Game Wraps

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