Instant Rationalization – The ‘syndrome’ plagues the Sox once again in 4-1 loss to the Angels

Instant Rationalization – The ‘syndrome’ plagues the Sox once again in 4-1 loss to the Angels
Negative side effects of the White Sox "syndrome." (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE, US PRESSWIRE / September 23, 2012)

Hawk Harrelson has been crabbier than normal (and unbearable to listen to) on Sox broadcasts.  I mean, sure, we are all thinking exactly what he’s been saying, but one set of hanging dark clouds is enough.  But one of Hawk’s new theories is that the White Sox have a “syndrome” in which nobody could hit.  Nobody seems to know what causes this “syndrome” or how the team could get rid of it, but it seems to be the opposite of the “contagion” that Hawk claims the whole team gets when swinging the bats well.

Whatever this “syndrome” is, the Sox must find a way to get rid of it and fast.  After a 4-1 loss and a sweep at the hands of the Angels, the Sox are one Detroit victory over the Twins away from being tied for first place.

The “syndrome” made its presence known in the very first inning.  The Sox loaded the bases with only one out against Jered Weaver, who definitely didn’t look like himself, topping out at around 90 miles per hour.  After a lengthy battle, Alex Rios struck out on an inside change-up and A.J. Pierzynski followed by grounding into a force out.  Cue the Hawk whining and the “syndrome” chirp.

Gavin Floyd was pitching great into the sixth inning, but his outing would blow up in a matter of eight pitches.  In a scoreless game, Floyd walked the one guy in the American League that you least want to walk: Mike Trout.  Torii Hunter than singled to left field to move Trout to third base and Albert Pujols and Kendry Morales followed with a two-run double and two-run homer respectively to make it 4-0 Halos.  Game over.

Key Performer

Albert Pujols – 3-4, 1 R, 2 RBI – His two-run double opened the game’s scoring and paved the way for Kendry Morales’ home run.

Kendry Morales – 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI – Speaking of Morales, his two-run shot off of Floyd essentially put the game away.

Jered Weaver – 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K – Weaver did not look like himself, but against a struggling White Sox offense, he only needed to be a shred of himself.

Gavin Floyd – 6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 8 K – Floyd pitched much better than what the stats say and looks to be the Sox’s third best starter heading down the stretch.

Turning Point

The walk to Mike Trout by Gavin Floyd gave you that feeling that the black clouds were rapidly approaching.  Floyd actually got ahead of Trout with a 1-2 count, but Trout drew the walk and three batters later it was 4-0 Angels.

Things Would Have Been Different If…

...the Sox cashed in during the first inning.  Jered Weaver is one of those pitchers who a team must get to early if they are going to get to him at all.  The Sox sure had their chance to do so in the first inning, but Rios struck out on the 12th pitch of his at-bat.  Pierzynski followed by hitting into a fielder’s choice, and the “syndrome” that has been plaguing the Sox and its fans was in full force.

Overview

The Sox couldn’t be more pleased to be heading home.  In the worst case scenario, the Sox and Tigers would be tied for the division lead (Detroit hosts Minnesota in the nightcap of their doubleheader).  The Sox simply must perform better offensively with runners in scoring position.

It’s not as if the Sox can’t get on base period, but rather that they can’t drive in the key runs.  There seems to be no spark at the top of the lineup like there used to be and Sox pitchers have had to pitch with no room for error over the last several weeks.

The good news is that after tonight’s Twins-Tigers game, the schedule evens out considerably.  The Tigers still probably have the edge because the Sox host Tampa Bay, while Detroit only plays poor teams, but the conclusion of the series in Anaheim leaves the Sox with seven home games and only three road games left.  The Sox play six against Cleveland, while the Tigers draw Kansas City for seven games over the last 11 of 2012.

Overall Record: 81-71, .5 games up on Detroit

Filed under: Game Wraps

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