Earlier today, I called for solid pitching in the event of less than prodigious offense, and just a few hours later Chris Sale answered. The elder of today’s starters had the best outing of his young career in holding the Rays to just a single run and 3 hits. Oh, and he struck out 15 batters. Not bad for a day’s work. If you’re going to win games, at least a little bit of offense is needed, and Adam Dunn carried that end for the Sox as they held their ground to remain half a game behind the Cleveland Indians.
White Sox (27-22): 2
Rays (29-20): 1
Both young pitchers pitched extremely well. If Matt Moore was trying to get back on track, he accomplished that. 10 White Sox batters struck out at his hand. Unfortunately for him, a regular strikeout victim no matter who is on the mound was able to connect with one and it’s quite possible Moore struck out another batter before it even landed. Adam Dunn’s 6th inning blast was of the majestic variety, clearing the right-center bleachers and ricocheting off of the wall behind to come back into the seats. The shot came after Gordon Beckham reached with a single, and those the two runs that Dunn drove in would be enough to cover up the one run yielded by Sale.
It’s usually June by the time I feel that the standings start to mean something. Sure, pretenders can hang around well past that point but by month 3 you’ve got a pretty decent idea of who is there to stay and who is likely to fall to the wayside. It’s encouraging to see the Sox up this late. After a few scoffs at the sweep of the lowly Cubs, and some wins against the lowly Twins, a sweep of the division leading Indians and a quality start to the series against a highly competitive Tampa Bay team are giving the Sox the opportunity to prove they belong in the hunt.
Plus: No questions about Chris Sale’s ability should remain. The only question is why the whole confusion at the beginning of May as to whether or not he should be starting. Not many guys are able to step onto a mound and dominate hitters that way.
Minus: It’s getting more and more difficult to point out grievances on the wins. When the team comes out on top, the shortcomings just aren’t as glaring. Still, 2 runs won’t be enough most times out. I’d like to see the hit parade get back up and running asap.