Saturday night the Royals held Friday’s score up to a mirror so that the Sox could see the poor end of a 5 to nothing shutout. Chris Sale made his return to the starting rotation after management spent the week Favre-ing on the role of the young left hander. Chris didn’t have the night he envisioned, and once coupled with the lack of run support, he was handed his second loss of the season.
Royals (12-20): 5
White Sox (16-18): 0
There was a time in U.S. Cellular Field where a lefty would get on the mound and promptly get hit all over the field in the first inning. That lefty would then find his groove and hold the line the rest of the way. It was no reason to panic, though you would always wish that first inning never happened. With Buehrle gone now, Sox fans aren’t used to that practiced early deficit anymore, and Chris Sale’s first inning performance surely had many folks ready to point fingers at the people responsible for messing with Sale’s rhythm. Royals hitters batted around in the first inning, but managed only 3 runs due in great part to 3rd base coach Eddie Rodriguez, who I can only assume is nursing a sore shoulder that renders him unable to send runners home as often as the average (Super) Joe.
Sale would make it through 4 more innings without giving up another run, ending up with a “could have been worse” line of 3 runs in 5 innings, and he struck out 3. The only 2 batters he walked were the first 2 batters of the game. Call it a mental thing, blame Cooper, blame Ventura, blame the hour rain delay, but it would appear that there is nothing wrong with Chris Sale. He just had a rough inning.
Hochevar took the opportunity to right his ship, going 7 innings and allowing only 3 White Sox hits. It was his first good start since April 25 and, well, good for him. The Sox never even threatened in this one. One game is just a bad offensive day. Sunday matters, because a repeat performance quickly turns the bad day into an offense problem.
Plus: Despite the resulting L tally received, Chris Sale is back in the rotation. He was only out for one turn in the rotation but as I said before, having those 5 quality guys going out to start everyday is key to being able to keep a team in competition.
Minus: In just one third of an inning, Will Ohman picked himself up another earned run. He’s padding his stats the wrong way.
Despite what would surely seem to be another game with the largest shift coming in the first inning, Alexei Ramirez grounding into a double play in the second dropped the expectancy by 8.6% and was the largest change through the entire game.