A pitching duel is what we expected but the bats took off with this one as the evening didn’t go so well for either young lefthander. Kershaw got touched up early by Adam Dunn, who hit his 4th HR career off of the Dodgers ace in his 12th career at-bat against him and Sale showed early vulnerability as well when he granted a lead-off walk that came around to score. That was just the beginning.
White Sox (34-30): 6
Dodgers (41-24): 7
Adam Dunn got the scoring started early and the Sox would add to the lead in the 3rd, 4th and 5th, the last being an Alex Rios no doubter to stretch the score to 5-1.
After the shaky first Sale was able to keep the Dodgers at bay through the 5th, but he had to work hard to get there and never looked as comfortable and dominant as we’ve seen in other Chris Sale starts this season. In the 6th he could walk the tightrope no longer. After another lead-off walk, Los Angeles would put forth a flurry of hits in order to plate 3 more runs when Dee Gordon stepped up to bat with runners on the corners. Gordon tried to drop a bunt down and popped it up towards first. Paul Konerko had a glove out, got a glove on it, but could not secure the ball when Gordon Beckham, on his way to cover first, reached out and barehanded the ricochet. Pete Rose would have been proud but it wasn’t the momentum shift Sox hoped for. The score remained 5-3 White Sox at that point and Sale would make his exit but the Dodgers didn’t seem to mind the switch. Elian Herrera lined a double to greet Jesse Crain that would bring two more around. Both runs charged to Sale bringing his run total to 5 which would make this his worst start of the year, he had not allowed more than 3 in any other start.
Juan Rivera got to Crain next, a single would score Herrera and just like that the lead was gone on a 5 run inning. But Alex Rios to the rescue! It’s as unlikely that I’ll get used to saying that this season as it is that I will tire of it. Rios lead off the 8th with his second homerun of the game to tie it up at 6. In the bottom half of the inning Matt Thornton would have a go at it, and it wouldn’t end well. A single, a walk and a wild pitch would hand the lead right back over and that’s all she wrote.
Plus: Adam Dunn has 23 homeruns, that’s a lot. Alex Rios doesn’t have that many but he put one over the fence twice tonight and put hard contact on the ball a couple other times on a 3–4 night. The warm California air also agreed with Alexei Ramirez as he contributed 2 hits tonight. Unfortunately right now it seems like pitching and offense can’t both be firing on the same day, but that evens out eventually and it’s always good to see some production.
Minus: Chris Sale’s runs were backloaded, but it still doesn’t sit well that he was allowed to throw 107 pitches on a night that it was clear he wasn’t at the top of his game. When the organization seems concerned with his workload, you would think that a less than effective Sale would get taken down as to not wear him out. The box score shows that all of a sudden Chris Sale gave up runs, but most every inning was high stress for him and 100+ innings was not necessary on this particular evening.