Instant Rationalization - More homers needed

After Monday night's festivities, the White Sox allegiance to the home run was a celebrated and revered element of their personality.  I would offer that it still should be--building a lineup around power hitters while playing in a band box is a sound strategy.

But the absurd caricature of the approach that the White Sox offered Tuesday will inspire no new supporters.  Dewayne Wise ripped a no-doubter solo shot in the 1st inning to make it 1-0, and Gordon Beckham lifted a towering fly ball that just made it into the bullpen to make 2-0 in the 3rd, and that was...

...it.

Tigers stater allowed Doug Fister allowed a walk after each blast, but not another hit over seven innings.  The dedication to the home run approach is admirable, but the result--pop-ups and feeble swings at looping curves--revealed again that it's possible to want something too much.

The offensive effort wasn't enough to support a nervy Jake Peavy outing.  He labored through at-bats, racked up an enormous pitch count, and the deep fly ball outs that ended early-inning threats turned into massive home runs from Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera in the 5th.  Unfortunately, Jackson's was a two-run shot, and the Tigers had 3-2 lead.

An impromptu relief appearance from Francisco Liriano in the 8th inning was an immediate disaster--he faced three batters, hit one with the first pitch, allowed two hits, and was eventually credited with two runs when a cache of relievers were done mopping up.

A rally stirred in the 8th when three straights hits from the bottom of the order capped off by Alejandro De Aza produced a run.  But the momentum was stifled by two straight miserable strikeouts from Dewayne Wise and Kevin Youkilis, and an ever-so-weak dribbler from Paul Konerko.  Youkilis' at-bat, was notably infused with two peculiar and inept bunt attempts.  The other two at-bats were also bad, but this was a funny-looking bad.

Tigers 5, White Sox 3

Key Performers

Jake Peavy - 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 2 HR - Effective enough, but not overwhelming enough to cut through the heart of the order three times.

Doug Fister - 7 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 2 HR - Biiiiiig curveballs.

Gordon Beckham - 2 for 3, HR - Sometimes, Gordon Beckham being the most effective hitter on the team is because literally everyone was crushing the opposing pitcher.  This was one of those other times.

Youkilis-Wise-Konerko - 1 for 10, HR, 5 K, 2 BB - Sometimes when Wise is the most effective middle of the order hitter....

Turning Point

Dueling massive blasts to center field from Jackson and Cabrera could certainly be pointed to as a momentum swing, since the Sox never recovered the lead at any point and it helped stop Peavy from dragging his way to a quality start.

Things Would Be Different If...

A horrid 8th inning prevented the Sox from salvaging this one, and few of the things Robin Ventura could be directly tied to worked out well.  He chose a one-run game as the time for Francisco Liriano to make his bullpen debut after a spell of wildness had wrecked his last three starts, even though Matt Thornton was fresh.

It went very poorly.

He had Kevin Youkilis--the owner of zero career sacrifice bunts--try to drop down a sacrifice twice in a row despite being preceded by three straight hits off of Joaquin Benoit.  He fouled both off, then swung helplessly at a slider eight feet out of the zone to end the at-bat.  Benoit slipping easily back into a groove immediately after getting the out didn't make the decision look any better.

Takeaway

BIG PICTURE: Sox need a split, are still on track for a split.  Woo.

SLIGHTLY SMALLER PICTURE: Peavy was shaky, Fister was dominant, it happens.  Dang, but there's a game tomorrow.

SMALL PICTURE: The took out their sword in the 8th inning, swung wildly and disembowled themselves.  It was frustrating, and hopefully not disastrously costly.

 

Team Record: 76-65, 2 games up

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