No offense to the 10,015 Cleveland fans who carved up their Tuesday schedule to wedge a trip to the ballpark into it, but it wasn't the most purposeful baseball game that was played in Progressive Field on this night.
The White Sox lineup--absent Paul Konerko, Alex Rios (probably on break for the rest of the season), Kevin Youkilis, Alejandro De Aza, and Gordon Beckham--reflected the lack of vitality present.
The bats reflected that too. A Shin-Soo Choo solo home run was the only hit Cleveland had through eight innings, and the weakened Sox offense needed until the 6th to break through against Justin Masterson. The ever-terrifying combination of Dewayne Wise and Orlando Hudson strung together hits to tie it up.
The tie score also momentarily ignited fears that the two futureless teams would duel deep, and ineffectively into the night. But those concerns were abated when Dayan Viciedo drilled a Chris Perez fastball deep and gone to center field to put the Sox up 3-1. With a nice cushion in place, Jake Peavy took the mound in the 9th, to likely cap off his White Sox career with a haunting, one-hit shutout thrown far from the post-season stage he dreamed to be redeemed on.
At which point, Jake revealed himself to have ran out of gas finishing out the 8th. All of sudden Sandy Alomar Jr. started managing up a storm, pinch-hitting Michael Brantley (who singled), and Travis Hafner (who tied the game with a home run just inside the right field foul pole).
Into extra innings they went.
As it turns out, stripped-down lineups don't fare well against situational relievers. The Indians left runners in scoring position in the 9th and 10th, but that was still more action than the White Sox managed. A Jordan Danks single was the only offensive activity before a Jason Donald double off of Nate Jones scored Lonnie Chisenhall in the 12th, and sent the beat writers home.
Jake Peavy - 8 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 109 pitches - "Not Quite What he Envisoned: The Story of Jake Peavy on the White Sox"
Orlando Hudson - 3 for 6, 2B, RBI, BB - If only he had hit like this earlier....he'd have still regressed, the Sox might have skipped out on Youkilis and finished seven games back.
Dan Johnson - 0 for 2, 2 BB, K - Johnson's 2012 line is .294/.538/.353
Inevitable bullpen meltdowns aside, the tenor of the game changed forever in the 9th. Indians interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr. flooded a tired Peavy with lefty starters he had been holding back, and Jake yielded the lead. From there on out the Sox were fending off jams.
Things Would Be Different If...
One would imagine that pulling Peavy for some sort of reliever in the 9th inning could have prevented all of this.
Also, Tyler Flowers instigating a massive, bloody brawl after getting plunked by Chris Perez in the 9th probably would have changed the course of events. I'm just not sure how.
It's only too fitting that Jake Peavy's last start would mirror his career so well. Great potential and talent, marred by misfortune, and a leash that was probably too long.
Team Record: 84-77