Jake Peavy was tasked with not only keeping the White Sox as close to the Tigers in the standings as possible, but with keeping the fan base on the hook for a bit longer. It’s not “must-win” yet, but it’s certainly “you would do very well towards the advancement of your cause if you did in fact win this.” Jake was able to do his part going 7 solid innings and yielding just two runs but the offense did not come to his aid, and the elimination number is down to 5.
Rays (86-70): 3
White Sox (82-74): 2
The last couple weeks have not been kind to the White Sox. This is due in large part to their absolutely abysmal performance with runners on base. They’ve been stranding baserunners with regularity, as if they’ve become confused as to the objective and begun to think that this is the actual goal. Thursday night was no different, it got started early. Let me tell you how the two White Sox runs scored.
4th inning: Adam Dunn walked, Paul Konerko walked. Alex Rios singled to clog the bases. This is a bases loaded no outs situation. Many runs tend to score in this situation. In fact, in 2012 you can expect over 2 runs to come across as a result (yes, I’ve been having a grand time with run expectancy charts the last couple days). A.J. Pierzynski stepped in to take the team to its crooked number destiny, but was unable. He struck out. Dayan Viciedo was next and was hit by a pitch. A free run. That was that. Alexei Ramirez pop-up and Gordon Beckham line out. 1 total run achieved.
5th inning: Alejandro De Aza singled to lead off, Youkilis hit by pitch and Adam Dunn walked. This is a bases loaded no outs situation. Surely more runs would come of this. They are now owed runs having come up short of the standard the previous inning. Paul Konerko, the captain stepped in and grounded into a run scoring double play. Alex Rios K’d. 1 total run achieved.
The Rays, not being as fond as dragging things out with slight results scored each of their runs rather quickly in the top halves of the two questionable White Sox innings, the latter of which was a HR to right for Luke Scott. That’s all Jake was willing to allow. He threw 118 pitches in 7.1 innings, striking out 6 and allowing just 4 hits and a single walk. Stand and clap as he walks off the field.
The 8th inning produced some special cerebral moments. A.J. lead it off with a single to left and was replaced by Jordan Danks to pinch run. Dewayne Wise was called up to bat instead of Viciedo. After failing to get the bunt down, he had to hit with 2 strikes, but struck out instead. Alexei Ramirez flew out to center on the first pitch that he saw, and here’s where it gets fun. Jordan Danks had taken off and passed second before realizing he had to come back to first as the ball was going to be caught. He got back to first in plenty of time, but he failed to re-touch second base before doing so. He was out. A very unorthodox double play. This created the timeline where Evan Longoria hit a go-ahead homerun in the 9th off of Brett Myers.
Plus: Jake Peavy came out and pitched a hell of a game. It’s what the Sox needed. Half of what the Sox needed. The other half being the offense, which did not come through.
Minus: Those stranded runners. Wow. Also that bunt attempt may have cost big, we’ll never know for sure, but it put Dewayne Wise in a position to bat 0-2, and without the bunt call we probably see Dayan Viciedo stay in the game. He may have struck out anyway, perhaps, but perhaps not. Jordan Danks TOOTBLAN was a nice bonus in the inning. Two bad moves mentally resulted in another wasted opportunity. On the bright side, the baserunning mistake meant no stranded runner.
Player of the Game:
Kevin Youkilis – .142 WPA