Bruce Chen has faced the White Sox four times this season. In those four starts he’s given up 15 runs and the two teams have split the contests. Hardly the shining enigma he seems to be. Three times this season he’s given up no runs. Those came against the Angels, the Twins and the Tigers. Bruce Chen is not out to kill the White Sox, but tonight, in the Chen/White Sox 2012 rubber match, he did. A fourth scoreless outing was notched, and the division lead has been cut to 2.
White Sox (81-67): 0
Royals (67-81): 3
Perhaps it all started with the caught stealing. Alejandro De Aza lead the game with a base hit and was thrown out trying to steal with Kevin Youkilis standing at the plate. It seemed like maybe a scoring threat was squashed before it started, but maybe De Aza knew more than all of us, maybe he knew about all the runners about to be stranded and didn’t want to be one of them. Well not yet. In the 2nd, Alex Rios doubled: stranded. In the 3rd, De Aza tripled: stranded. In the 4th, Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko walked, Alex Rios singled: all stranded. 6th inning, Paul Konerko doubled: stranded. In the 7th inning, Gordon Beckham walked, De Aza singled: both stranded. The 8th brought singles from both Alex Rios and Dewayne Wise who pinch hit for Dayan Viciedo: stranded. The game really couldn’t have ended any other way, in the 9th, De Aza doubled: stranded.
Chris Sale battled through this one. He did strike out 8 in his 6 and two thirds, but he allowed 8 hits, walking a pair. The second walk was an intentional one in the 7th inning of Alcides Escobar, who had gone 3 for 3 to that point, in order to get to Alex Gordon, who was 1 for 2. Gordon lifted one to deep left field and Dayan Viciedo was not able to bring it in. 2 runs scored on the play and it marked the end of Sale’s night.
Plus: Chris Sale, though the intentional walk ultimately added a couple runs to his night did pitch a decent game. It wasn’t the best stuff we’ve seen from him but it was good enough to strike out 8 Royals. He gave up quite a few hits but he did manage to scatter them. Unfortunately the effort was wasted.
Minus: The oversimplified statement of runners stranded above does not quite illustrate the frustration involved with this game, particular with the 4th inning. When the bases were loaded in that inning, there weren’t any outs and at the time just a 1 run deficit. A couple of pop-ups from Viciedo and Ramirez (3 pitches seen between them in those at-bats) left it up to Tyler Flowers who was unable to pull the trigger and struck out looking. Wasted opportunities all over this one.
Player of the Game:
Paul Konerko – .101 WPA