In the middle of this one, the Tigers completed their victory against the Kansas City Royals, putting the pressure on the White Sox to pull out a victory of their own. If pressure creates for tense viewing, the White Sox felt like testing those limits and offered up a see-sawing contest that contained long, drawn out walks, excessive pitching changes, and a whole lot of discouraged White Sox fans.
Indians (65-91): 6
White Sox (82-73): 4
By now, I’m sure, you’re familiar with the “dreaded lead-off walk.” It didn’t take much time for it to appear as Jason Kipnis walked as the second batter in the game. It also didn’t take long for him to score, Russ Canzler, who has been a pain in the White Sox arse this series singled him on home. On the other end: another lead-off walk. This one to Alejandro De Aza, he’d come around to score on another walk, this to Paul Konerko with the bases loaded. Justin Masterson was not effective. In addition to the 2 walks he issued, he let up 3 hits, threw 37 pitches and it netted 3 runs for the Sox.
Both pitchers settled in to some extent, not putting forth any smooth innings, but letting up any more runs in the next two innings. In the 3rd Hector Santiago bent and was not allowed to find out if he would break. A single and two walks loaded the bases and that was all Robin was willing to watch. In came Brian Omogrosso…he bent too. A pair of runs came in to score as Jason Kipnis, the first batter he faced, singled up the middle. He did not break. Though it was not pretty (walks!), Omogrosso did make it out of the inning without any further damage, and allowed the Sox to go to work in their half of the inning. Rather, allowed Robin to go back to work. Gordon Beckham earned a lead-off walk, and Alejandro De Aza bunted him to second. The ol’ sacrifice.
Runner on first, no outs: .85 expected runs
Runner on second, 1 out: .6492 expected runs
That is pulling from 2011 data, but it works out nearly identically for 2012, and comes out with roughly the same difference any year that you pull it. The point is, sacrifice bunts lower your run expectancy, even if playing for a single run. But moving on!
The 5th inning brought a 2 out walk for A.J. Pierzynski and it was our good fortune that this did not occur with an out or less, we may have had to watch another bunt. Instead, Alexei was able to swing away and doubled A.J. home.
A double and a walk were issued by Donnie Veal to start out the 6th. Nate Jones came in and proceeded to walk the first two that he faced. He was able to finally pull a strikeout of Jason Kipnis before being lifted in favor of Matt Thornton to come in and take on Travis Hafner and managed a 1-2-3 double play to escape the jam with the game merely tied. Another inning, more walks. Thornton walked one, gave up a double to allow Cleveland back on top, then walked another. Brent Myers did get out of the inning but that was all the damage needed (though Myers did give up a HR the following inning to Vinny Rottino for good measure.
Plus: A.J. and Rios each went 2-3 with AJ earning a walk to go with it, Alex a sacrifice fly. The Sox as a team had 8 hits and scored 4 runs, they weren’t completely asleep. The pitching didn’t do what it has to, and that ended up being the killer.
Minus: Clearly the walks were the largest issue here. 12 walks were issued by White Sox pitching. Grant free passes at that rate and winning any game is a miracle. There was no miracle here.
Player of the Game:
Alejandro De Aza – .190 WPA