Most might point to Nate McLouth’s two-run go-ahead homer in the eighth inning as the difference in the game. While that might have been the most dramatic turning point, the difference in Monday’s 4-3 loss to Baltimore can be seen through two stats: White Sox offensive strikeouts, and the bases on balls Baltimore received. White Sox hitters struck out 12 times, while Sox pitchers walked seven Orioles.
Oriole hitters were very patient all night, taking very close pitches and making Sox pitchers work. The final walk drawn by Baltimore immediately preceded McLouth’s two-run shot that gave the Orioles the lead. White Sox hitters, on the other hand, were not, highlighted (or lowlighted) by 0-4, three strikeout performance in which well over half of the pitches he swung at were balls.
The Orioles lead the game 1-0 from the second inning until the sixth inning, when Kevin Youkilis hit a go-ahead two-run home run. However, the Orioles answered right back in the bottom half, tying the game in an inning they only got one hit, but drew three walks, including one with the bases loaded. The Sox took the lead on an Adam Dunn RBI single in the eighth inning, but again, the Orioles answered right away with McLouth’s two-run homer.
Nate McLouth – 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB – McLouth’s homer in the eighth inning, only his second of the year, proved to be the game winner.
Kevin Youkilis – 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI – Youkilis was the only Sox hitter with multiple hits and his two-run homer in the sixth inning gave the Sox their first lead of the game.
Lew Ford – 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI – Ford’s solo shot in the second was his first home run of the year and his single in the sixth set up Baltimore’s run in that inning.
McLouth’s homer off of Brett Myers in the eighth inning won the game for the Orioles. Myers was in his second inning of work and walked the previous batter on a close 3-2 pitch that didn’t go his way. McLouth took a fastball that got too much of the outer-third of the plate and drove it over the high wall in right field.
Things Would Be Different If…
…Baltimore didn’t make four defensive mistakes. The Sox were lucky they were even in the game with all of their strikeouts and free passes doled out. Baltimore made several boneheaded defensive gaffes, capped off by Mark Reynolds not getting back to first on Dunn’s RBI infield hit in the eighth inning. That looked to be the probable turning point of the game until Myers served up the gopher ball.
Hitting coach Jeff Manto has preached the Sox to be free swingers, and as has previously noted in several posts, that can produce an offensive explosion or excruciatingly frustrating performances like tonight. The Sox’s stark difference between their team runs scored and OBP, where they rank 6th and 17th respectively in all of baseball reflects this do or die approach.
The current road trip is the Sox’s toughest stretch remaining on their schedule with their more against Baltimore and then three more in Detroit. After the weekend series in Detroit, the Sox only have three more series and winning teams—at home versus the Tigers and Rays and against the Angels in Anaheim. A split in Baltimore would be acceptable and Chris Sale is just the man to stop the bleeding tomorrow night.
Overall Record: 71-56, 2 games up on Detroit
Filed under: Game Wraps