Instant Rationalization – A Texas-sized sweep

Instant Rationalization – A Texas-sized sweep
I'd be scared of the White Sox right now, too. (Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune / July 5, 2012)

Jose Quintana flat-out dominated one of the best offenses in baseball, leading the White Sox to a 2-1 victory over the Rangers and a sweep over the best team in baseball.  Quintana gave up only two hits and one run, striking out a career-high nine Rangers over eight masterful innings.

Quintana’s pitch count also doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore, as he delivered 113 pitches to home plate before Addison Reed took over in the ninth and recorded his 12th save in 13 opportunities.

Kevin Youkilis (who else?) broke a one-all tie in the sixth inning with an opposite field home run off of Matt Harrison, who came into the game winning seven of his previous eight starts.

On a day when manager Robin Ventura rested most of the team’s left-handed hitters, the Sox provided the textbook way to beat Harrison, grinding out just enough offensive production to back up tremendous pitching.

Key Performers

Jose Quintana – 8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K – The rookie allowed only four Texas base runners in eight innings, bouncing back nicely after his only rough outing of the year in New York.

Kevin Youkilis – 1-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, 1 BB – “Youk” completed a nearly perfect home stand, going 6-13 with two homers and six RBI.

Addison Reed – 1 IP, 2 K, SV - Yet another rookie came on and promptly struck out two Rangers in a dominating one inning of work for his 12th save.

Matt Harrison – 8 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K – The tough-luck loser, Harrison allowed only two runs on eight hits in eight innings, lowering his ERA to 3.10.

Turning Point

Kevin Youkilis hit an opposite field line-drive home run off of Harrison to lead off the sixth inning for the White Sox, giving them a 2-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.  Hits, let alone runs, were at a premium in this game, and Youkilis had the right approach to take Harrison the other way.  Youkilis has hit the ball to all fields since coming to the White Sox, showing shades of his All-Star days.

The White Sox didn’t have many scoring opportunities in the game, but they surely made the most of the hits they did get.

Things Would Have Been Different If…

…the weather didn’t cooperate sooner?  That’s the only semi-logical thing that would have stopped Quintana from blowing through the Rangers.  Heavy rain and even lightning appeared in the ninth inning, but it could have been Mother Nature’s reaction to finding out that Yu Darvish held off a furious rally from Jake Peavy to make the American League All-Star Team.

Takeaway

The White Sox are showing that they can win in many different ways; a sign of a very good team.  In this series alone, the Sox won with its offense (19 runs on 21 hits) in the opener, with its defense (six stellar defensive gems, with four by Youkilis) in the second game and with its pitching (allowing only two Texas hits) in the finale.

Also of importance, the White Sox are finally playing well at home, winners of five straight at the Cell.  Today’s victory brought the Sox home record over break-even for the first time since winning the first two home games of the season.

Overall Record: 45-37, 2.5 games ahead of Cleveland

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  • Kevin, can the Sox win it all? Fingers crossed.

  • Aquinas,

    It will come down to starting pitching, simple as that. The Sox have the offense to do it and, even though they have a lot of rookies, I believe they have the bullpen to do it. But our starting rotation is anchored by a first-year starter who many have injury concerns over, a guy who has been completely injury-plagued for the last three years and a guy who never even made it to Double-A before this year. I'll tell you one thing though, for you to even have the chance to seriously ask that question is a beautiful thing.

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