Instant Rationalization - White Sox don't score enough, it winds up not mattering

Instant Rationalization - White Sox don't score enough, it winds up not mattering
It was hot, dudes // Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

Luis Mendoza isn't a starter the Royals planned on (or hoped to) relying on heavily this season.

He throws low 90's, he'll hang his slurvy breaking pitch too much, and while he's been a decent space-filler this year, the 6.14 career ERA going into Sunday made him probably not the best guy to matchup with Chris Sale.

And yet, there he was matching the All-Star stride for stride, allowing just two runs over 7.1 innings, and departing to a standing ovation while only down a run.

A big enabler of such a day for Mendoza was shoddy Sox hitting with runners in scoring position (1 for 10 on the day), as an Alexei Ramirez based-loaded double play in the 2nd was the only time they knocked a man in.

But Mendoza didn't just match Sale for results, their process looked the same as well.  Sale lacked big velocity, couldn't get swings-and-misses with his changeup, and managed just four strikeouts in comparison to ten hits.

Yet the Royals didn't have any more interest in clutch hitting (2 for 12 with RISP).  A 5th inning bloop single by Chris Getz provided their only run, and an inning-ending double play in the 8th with two runners on against a rapidly fading Chris Sale killed their biggest scoring threat.

With that kind of RBI production from both sides, an Adam Dunn solo home run in the 1st was the difference in the ballgame, and Robin Ventura got away with not touching the bullpen phone until the 9th, when Addison Reed provided another slider-less, high-tension save.

White Sox 2, Royals 1

Key Performers

Chris Sale - 8 IP, 10 H, ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0 HR, 115 pitches - The velocity wasn't great and he hasn't had a big strikeout game in a while.  The last time he went through a stretch like this he went to the bullpen for a week.  And yet, the results!

Adam Dunn - 1 for 3, HR, 2 BB, K - He's back to his old self!

Alex Rios - 2 for 3, BB, R - We're rapidly approaching a reality where Alex Rios is the best hitter on the team

Dayan Viciedo - 2 for 4 - It's nice that he didn't strikeout.  He also saw nine pitches in four times at the plate.  Old Dayan is back!

Alexei and Gordon were both more or less guys you'd expect to be hitting eight and ninth in a batting order, but played spectacular middle infield defense all day

Turning Point

With one out in the 8th, sitting at over 110 pitches, and having just yielded three straight burning line drives--two of which resulted in singles--Chris Sale looked pretty much cooked.

The situation might have spelled trouble for Sale operating at top capacity, but without the ability to reach back and miss bats, Ventura looked set to be royally burnt by not having help ready in the bullpen.

Instead, Yuniesky Betancourt was up, and obliged the Sox with an inning-ending comebacker to Sale.  That was right decent of him.

Things Would Be Different If...

As @JeffPassan pointed out, having Yuni batting 5th today may have been the difference in the game.

— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) July 15, 2012


If Salvador Perez were batting #5 instead of #8, maybe he singles with two on and one out, as he did in the ninth inning.

— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) July 15, 2012

This would be a case of getting just a little help from the opposition.


There's no negatives in taking a series from the Royals on the road, as Kaufmann Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Sox the past few years.

They accomplished it with outsized starting pitching mismatches, and will now be headed to Boston with nothing but the burnt ends of the rotation, but at least the bullpen will be ready, which didn't seem likely after Friday night.

Now just hope there's nothing wrong Chris Sale.


Team Record: 49-39, 3.5 games up


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Leave a comment
  • "burnt ends of the rotation"--that's good stuff. I enjoyed burnt ends at Jack Stack BBQ this weekend in KC, as well Saturday's burnt-end loss at Kauffman Stadium.

    Great place to watch baseball -- a damn sight better than Arlington, where I usually see the White Sox.

  • In reply to Eddie Gaedel:

    I wasn't sure if that metaphor would work, since while burnt ends are the excess portion of the brisket, they're also delicious

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