Spirits were not high heading into a matchup featuring Angels’ Ace Jered Weaver and White Sox often time whipping boy Gavin Floyd. With the Twins spanking the Tigers in game one of a doubleheader for a backdrop, the two righties went to work with the Angels trying to keep themselves in the postseason conversation while the Sox tried to ensure they would return home with possession of a division lead.
White Sox (81-71): 1
Angels (84-69): 4
The Sox opened up the game making Weaver look like a non-issue…as a single from Youkilis, a double from Dunn and a Konerko walk loaded the bases with one out. Unfortunately that was as far as they got. Alex Rios worked Weaver for a tough 11 pitch at-bat that resulted in a strikeout and A.J. Pierzynski grounded out to end the threat. Weaver went on a run shortly thereafter and retired 12 straight White Sox batters until Paul Konerko dropped a single into right field in the 6th inning.
Gavin Floyd was excellent in his most recent start with the caveat that it came against the Royals. He built upon that by going through the first 5 innings without allowing any runs and striking out 6. In short: he brought it. With the K rate being what it was for Gavin, there weren’t many times that Anaheim threatened, and when runners reached, the defense was waiting to turn double plays. When a runner finally reached second base, he probably should have reached third. Howie Kendrick lined a ball into the right field corner and an Angels fan reached out to grab the ball, making the possible triple a ground-rule double. The next batter flied out to Dayan Viciedo in left, had the runner been on third it’s tough to tell if he’d have tried to score, harder to tell if he would have, but we can thank the fan in right field for making sure we didn’t find out. Rhetorical questions went out the window in the 6th. A one-out walk to Mike Trout marked the end of Gavin’s effectiveness. Torii Hunter followed with a single, and Albert Pujols with a double. A pitching duel turned into a 2-0 deficit. 2-0 turned to 4-0 the very next batter on a Kendry Morales HR and Gavin Floyd went from excellent outing to staring a loss in the face within a matter of minutes.
The 7th inning marked the beginning of the bullpens for both squads. Floyd’s 6th inning marked his end, despite adding a pair more strikeouts to his total, and Weaver’s first inning workload was too heavy for him to go any deeper. He was able to start the 7th before surrendering a run via A.J. double, wild pitch, and sacrifice fly. Weaver went 6.1, allowed just 5 hits and the 1 run. The winner of the bullpen battle is…well it’s inconsequential. Both pens were effective, the score remained the same as when they were handed the game, and that’s bad news for the White Sox.
Plus: It was just the one bad inning for Gavin, and he otherwise looked good. He was striking guys out and keeping hitters from making solid contact. The bad inning was enough though, much like yesterday. The only large difference being the time of the game in which it occurred.
Minus: Scoring runs have not been the forte of this team in the last week or so. It’s a strange team, to have fallen into these droughts on more than a few occasions and managed to remain atop the division for the majority of the season. As they head home we have to sit back and hope that there’s another hot streak (or two) left in them.
Player of the Game:
Adam Dunn – .076 WPA