There was a solid 1.2 innings of good feelings Tuesday night. Chris Sale had struck out four through that span, and even though the White Sox had yet to get a hit off of Orioles' starter Chris Tillman, there was great hope that they would prevail with a superior matchup.
Sale's velocity wasn't top-notch, with a lot more work in the 90-92 range than one would hope for, but the swing-and-misses were still there...for 1.2 innings.
At which point they stopped, and stopped immediately. Monday night's hero Nate McLouth placed a single into right field, stole 2nd and advanced to 3rd as the throw got away. Sale's control subsequently evaporated--he walked the next two hitters, and his attempt to grab strike one against Nick Markakis with the bases full--a man he had coaxed a weak dribbler out of in the 1st inning--resulted in a bases-clearing double.
It would get worse from there. Sale too suffered the indignity of a solo home run to Lew Ford, and surprisingly got pulled after four innings and 75 frustrating pitches, leaving Phil Humber to mop up the other four frames. It wasn't a great night for the pitching staff, but at least they didn't actually figure into the game in any relevant way.
That's because the White Sox spent Tuesday becoming yet another team that failed to win while scoring no runs. Chris Tillman had control problems galore, and walked four batters through seven innings, but he and his big looping curveball were touched up for exactly one Dayan Viciedo infield hit that J.J. Hardy couldn't handle.
That was the only White Sox hit until Adam Dunn ran out a grounder he knocked away from the shift in the 9th. And thank goodness he did; for a second I was worried the Sox weren't going to save face.
Orioles 6, White Sox 0
Chris Sale - 4 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, HR, 75 pitches - Please don't be hurt?
Chris Tillman - 7 IP, H, 0 R, 4 BB, 5 K, 109 pitches - Good, but probably not this good!
White Sox hitting - 2 for 28, 7 K, 4 BB, One line drive - Everyone's a key performer!
Sale completely overwhelmed the first two hitters of the 2nd inning, but after allowing a single to McLouth and entering the stretch, nothing was steady for him again. He walked the young and impulsive Manny Machado, couldn't get a grip on his slider and walked Robert Andino to load the bases, and hung another slurvy offering to Nick Markakis that he blasted to the center field wall.
Things Would Be Different If...
The White Sox had remembered to pack the bats on the flight to Baltimore. The Youkilis home run Monday night is the only extra-base hit of the series.
The Liriano no-hitter was last year--lest anyone forget--so this night has a good hold for worst offensive effort of 2012. Post-game reports have Sale's early exist just a case of Ventura pulling the plug on a start that wasn't going anywhere in preparation for the Detroit series. That's a relief, but for the second-straight time, the White Sox are gearing up for big divisional showdown with a dispirited effort in the series prior.
So uh, there's a game tomorrow, still. Hopefully they win that one.
Team Record: 71-57, 1.5 up with Tigers trailing as of post time