Instant Rationalization – The Sox get flipped the bird one last time in 5-3 loss to Baltimore

Instant Rationalization – The Sox get flipped the bird one last time in 5-3 loss to Baltimore
Isn't playing Baltimore fun? (Rob Carr, Getty Images / August 30, 2012)

If there is a silver lining to today’s 5-3 loss to the Orioles that gave the Orioles the series win, it’s that the Sox don’t have to see Baltimore anymore this season.  The Sox finished the season a paltry 2-5 against Baltimore.  The biggest reason the Sox were dominated in this series is poor starting pitching, capped off by Jose Quintana being pulled from today’s game in the fourth inning.

The Sox took a 1-0 lead on a Gordon Beckham single that scored Dayan Viciedo in the second.  That could have actually been the second Sox run, but A.J. Pierzynski got gunned down at the plate by Adam Jones on the play before.  The Orioles looked pretty lifeless against Jose Quintana for the first two innings, but scored four runs on five hits in the third inning after the first two batters got out.

The other story of the game was Orioles starting pitcher Zach Britton.  Left-handed hitters came into the game hitting almost .300 against the Orioles southpaw, but in eight innings of work, White Sox left-handed hitters (Wise, Dunn and Pierzynski) were a combined 0-11 with seven strikeouts versus Britton.

Alexei Ramirez brought the Sox within two runs in the ninth inning, but Gordon Beckham struck out to end the game, giving the Orioles’ Jim Johnson his 41st save in 44 opportunities.

Key Performers

Zach Britton – 8 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 10 K – The Sox have allowed a good number of pitchers to achieve season and/or career highs in strikeouts and today was no different, with Britton setting a new career high.

Adam Jones – 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI – Jones hit his 26th home run, a two-run shot, off of Quintana in the Orioles’ four-run third inning.  He also gunned down A.J. Pierzynski at the plate trying to score from second base on a base hit.

Alexei Ramirez – 3-4, 2 RBI – Ramirez could have had three RBI if Jones didn’t throw Pierzynski out at home plate, but still collected 30% of the Sox hits today.

Turning Point

The Orioles third inning gave Baltimore a comfortable lead very early in the game.  After two were out and nobody on base, the Orioles strung five hits together, including two home runs—one by Jones and the other by Taylor Teagarden, giving them a commanding 4-1 lead.  The Sox offense looked lifeless after that against a dominant Zach Britton.

Things Would Be Different If…

…the Sox didn’t have any left-handed hitters in their lineup.  As previously mentioned, Sox lefties went a combined 0-11 with seven strikeouts against Britton, and didn’t collect a hit until Hector Gimenez’s single in the ninth inning off of Pedro Strop.  Right-handed hitters went 7-20 against Britton, good for a .350 average, only striking out three times.

Takeaway

The White Sox did not like playing the Orioles this year.  But they don’t have to anymore.  In fact, after Detroit concludes its series in Kansas City tonight, the schedules of the Tigers and White Sox are very similar.  The two clubs battling for the AL Central division crown play the same teams as one another, except for the Sox playing the Rays and the Tigers getting Oakland for a series.

The Sox and Tigers have both been really unpredictable throughout the entire season, both going on hot streaks and cold ones seemingly out of nowhere.  Consistent baseball has not been a strength of either ball club, which can only mean one thing for the last month of the regular season: it’s time to sit back, (not) relax and strap it down.

Overall Record: 72-58, 2.5 games ahead of Detroit

Filed under: Game Wraps

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