It was Star Wars day at The Cell, and the White Sox definitely provided the fireworks to accompany it. Cy Chen be damned, the offense jumped on the KC lefty for 3 homeruns while Chris Sale did his part to guide the team to their first victory against in their last 7 tries. The Royals are no longer an AL Central powerhouse.
Royals (62-77): 4
White Sox (75-63): 5
Both pitchers looked to take advantage of the shadows early with the 3:05 start time. A 3:05 start time in September means the sun starts in a poor place for batters to see the ball, and that would have to spend some time getting worse before it would get any better. Sale did his part without issue, save for a single incident in the 3rd. Billy Butler lined a single to Alex Rios in right while Lorenzo Cain & Alcides Escobar were on. Cain was sent home and was seemingly dead to rights at the plate but umpire Mark Carlson called him safe. Robin Ventura and Mark Parent came out to argue, but the call would stand. Parent would also no longer be welcome to watch the game from the bench. Cain, incidentally, would be thrown out at the plate in the 8th, this time on a throw from left field that ran through the Cuban relay system. After that Chris Sale hit his stride, retiring the next 10 batters he faced, which would be his last before letting Jesse Crain take over. Sale struck out 6 and walked just one on the afternoon.
Chen didn’t fare so well. The Sox got on the board early when Dayan Viciedo hit the ball over the right field fence in the 1st. The shadows that helped Chris Sale shut down the Kansas City hitters didn’t have quite the same effect on the White Sox. Additional homeruns by Tyler Flowers and Paul Konerko padded a lead established by a 3rd inning Alexei Ramirez run scoring double. The offense spread it out, everybody except Alex Rios and Ray Olmedo were able to add to the hit column.
The bullpen got the job done, including Addison Reed: Closer, who failed in a non-save opportunity (game tied) the night before by surrendering a 2-run homerun to Lorenzo Cain that proved to be the game winner. Though, he pitched well enough for it to have been easy, it wasn’t. Jordan Danks, the defensive replacement in left field, muffed a fly ball hit right at him that would have been the third out. The result was a pair of runs to cut the lead to just one before Reed was able to strike out Cain for the final out.
Plus: It’s always nice to see guys that seem to have the Pale Hose’s number go down. Chen managed 6 innings but his 5 earned runs were exactly what the Sox fan base needed to put the conspiracy theories to bed. Guys were hitting the ball hard against him and it resulted in a win. No more Cy Chen.
Minus: Sale wasn’t required to go deep into the game. The trouble, of course, is that he still threw 101 pitches. Obviously he was effective, and we’ll never know how much the shadows that were in play early helped out. It was suggested by some that Sale skip a start so that he would be at (close to) full strength when called upon to throw against Verlander and the Tigers next week. The next best thing to that would have been a short outing, and 100+ pitches isn’t exactly that. Hopefully it’s much ado about nothing.
Player of the Game:
Chris Sale – .180 WPA