While the fans came into Monday night thinking that the White Sox were just playing out the string, and logic tends to back them up, the players are not treating the season as over. They will play hard all year, holding the knowledge that they are not mathematically eliminated for as long as they can; you never know what might happen. After all, it’s their job. But not too long after the White Sox victory, the Tigers finished one of their own, and theirs ended in champagne. The 2012 season may no longer have any hope of going beyond 162 games, but the Sox aren’t going to lay down completely. That’s not their job.
White Sox (84-76): 11
Indians (67-93): 0
Hector Santiago and Corey Kluber essentially traded outs for 5 innings. The two pitchers haven’t had dominant seasons, though Santiago has clearly been better, despite his “demotion” from closer and eventual resurgence as spot starter. Hector Santiago was better tonight as well. While Kluber hit a wall in the 6th, Santiago kept going strong throwing 7 innings and striking out 10 little Indians. He also only let up one hit and one walk over the course of his evening. In short, Hector Santiago just had the game of his young career, so far.
Dewayne Wise, a man that isn’t likely to be wearing a White Sox uniform come 2013 got the Sox on the board in the 6th. He dropped down a bunt that caught the Indians by surprise, a beauty rolled fairly slowly on the left side and stood on first base as a reward. Not wanting to be caught off guard again, Corey Kluber repeatedly threw over to first in an attempt to keep Wise close to the bag. It was in vain. Wise was able to get himself a jump and moved into scoring postion. Adam Dunn flashed some hitting prowess by sending a single to center and Wise was the game’s first run. Then came the hit clusters we’ve spent the last two weeks waiting for. A Paul Konerko walk made way for Alex Rios to line a long single off of the left field wall. AJ followed with a single up the middle that couldn’t be handled by second baseman Jason Kipnis and Dayan Vicideo shot a single to right. All told 4 runs were thrown up on the board in just one inning. Where am I, August?!
After Kluber’s 6th inning issues the Indians had to utilize 5 more pitchers to get through the final 3 innings. New skipper Sandy Alomar got plenty of exercise. The 8th inning was a combination of Cody Allen and Esmil Rogers, against whom the Sox offense clustered together a couple more hits, one each from A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez, which along with a walk by Dayan Viciedo pushed one more run across. The 9th inning brought more scoring. Well, lots more scoring. Singles, singles singles and then ultimately a grand slam for Dayan Viciedo.
Plus: A big fat wow out of Hector Santiago, keeping the official postseason hopes alive for another couple of hours. He’ll be able to sit on that start all winter in the hopes of coming into a starting rotation spot for the 2013 season. I hope he is able to turn some of these outings in on a regular basis in the future. Also: hit clusters! fifteen hits, FOURTEEN singles.
Minus: That it didn’t happen until now…
Player of the Game:
Hector Santiago – .348 WPA