Instant Rationalization - Alex Rios redeems everyone

Instant Rationalization - Alex Rios redeems everyone
One of many slick moments // David Banks, Getty Images

The White Sox being in a position to win this game at all is a peaceful bit of absurdity.  They came into the game toting the garish pitching mismatch of Philip Humber versus Zack Greinke.  They needed the absolute best from Humber to compete and got him at his most erratic, and only maxed out a 1st inning opportunity against Greinke thanks to a missed call on a potential double play.

But through it all, there was Alex Rios, and that was more than enough.

Rios singled home a run in the 1st inning, setting up an A.J. Pierzynski for a three-run homer that gave the Sox a 4-1.  And after Humber's control problems bled away that lead into a 6-4 deficit, Rios brought the Sox within one with a solo blast, and ended the affair in the 10th with a walkoff two-run blast to dead center.

It saved a dreadful effort from Humber from earning a losing decision.  He allowed six runs in 5.2 innings, all of them coming with two outs, prompted by his four two out walks.

But he wasn't hit as hard as he could have been.  The Angels stranded 12 runners, and didn't have a single 1-2-3 inning all night.  It left a lot of room for a Sox comeback, which was culminated by a game-tying Alejandro De Aza ground rule double in the 7th.

Paul Konerko nearly grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in the 1st, but was safe when catcher Chris Iannetta's throw dragged Albert Pujols off of the base.  The Angels played the game under protest, contending that Konerko was inside the baseline (he was), but it's unlikely anything will come of it.

Adam Dunn was thrown out in the 1st at home on Alex Rios' single when Iannetta hung onto the ball despite being plowed over by Dunn.  It was pretty grizzly looking.

White Sox 8, Angels 6,  F/10

Key Performers

Philip Humber - 5.2 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, K, 2 HR, 109 pitches - A pretty terrible performance rife with command problems, hanging curveballs, and awful timing.

Zack Greinke - 7 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR, 112 pitches - Fairly similar

Alex Rios - 3 for 4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R - A truly baffling level of dominance right now

Alejandro De Aza - 3 for 5, 2B, RBI, K - His OBP is back over .350; where it should be.

Alexei Ramirez - 3 for 4, R - I had no idea he was having this good of a game

A.J. Pierzynski - 1 for 3, HR, 3 RBI, BB, K - A new career-high in home runs

White Sox bullpen - 4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 HR - Humber marred every memory of White Sox pitching on the night, but Myers and Thornton came up huge.

Turning Point

Since it was bandied about so much on Twitter, how about Gordon Beckham's running pick, spin and throw to turn a 7th inning double play to halt an Angels rally?  The White Sox outscored the Angels 3-0 from there on, after all.

Things Would Be Different If...

Rios looms preposterously large, but the bullpen kept this one within reason.  A big looping curveball got Brett Myers out of the 8th by striking out Mark Trumbo.  A generous strike zone aided Jesse Crain on his way to two-straight full count strikeouts in a scoreless 9th.  And Matt Thornton froze Mike Trout with a big sweeping breaking ball of all things to secure a scoreless 10th.

Takeaway

As bad as Humber was tonight, the Sox had no business winning this game considering the matchup or the starting effort.  And yet, superlative offense from the endlessly resurgent Alex Rios keeps the wolves (or the Tigers) at bay for another day.  These are the ones that feel the best.

 

Team Record: 58-47, 2.5 games up

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