Nobody expected a pitching duel. Alejandro De Aza made it clear he was not looking to participate in one either by leading the game off with his 8th HR of the year. Gavin Floyd, fearing allowing the same to the leadoff batter for the Royals was careful to a fault and walked him. This would give way to hits by Alex Gordon and Billy Butler, which would plate a pair. And then the pitching duel began.
White Sox (81-66): 3
Royals (66-81): 2
The next hit the White Sox achieved wouldn’t come until the 5th inning as AJ slapped a hit to left field. He wouldn’t remain on the bases long, as he either forgot about his poor speed or was terribly misinformed about the arm of Alex Gordon. He was gunned down by a large margin trying to get into second. Hits were achieved and runners were stranded, but it was clear that the White Sox were not meant to score by merely slapping hits in this one. Gordon Beckham pulled the score even by smoking a HR to left and Alex Rios, on a 3-0 count hit a big fly ball to left that cleared all seating. Poor Luke Hochevar danced himself out of dangerous, runners-on situations but would succumb to a few mistakes in the zone that would necessitate new baseballs.
The other half of the unexpected duel was Mr. Gavin Floyd. “More of the same” may have been a phrase to cross your mind during the first inning, but Gavin focused and more than got the job done without working too hard. Using the big field to his advantage, Floyd pounded the zone and let the defense go to work. He only struck out 3, but more importantly he only walked 1 in his 7 innings (78 pitches) of work. Those 2 runs in the first were all that he surrendered.
Matt Thornton was stellar again, riding a nice streak in which he’s made 8 outings without allowing a run. In fact, only 3 hits have been given up over that span. Addison Reed: Closer would receive another short save, coming in to retire Billy Butler and Salvador Perez.
Plus: Gavin Floyd not putting too much pressure on himself. He may have had that curveball, but by letting the Royals put the ball in play and inducing weak(ish) contact instead of overexerting himself and relying on the hook for K’s, Floyd achieved his best outing since July 7 in Toronto when he went 7 scoreless innings.
Minus: I’m not going to complain about a HR based offense, I don’t know if I ever will, but those 3 dingers that comprised of the entire scoring attack didn’t have to be alone. The Sox had multiple opportunities with ducks on the pond to drive in some additional runs. Much like Monday against Detroit, a boneheaded baserunning move could have cost them and didn’t. That’s not always going to be the case.
Player of the Game:
Matt Thornton – .232 WPA