With the pressure officially off with two games remaining Robin Ventura utilized a very low key lineup that would feature 6 backup players. Partially because “ah what the heck,” and partially because Justin Masterson carries a R/L split that favors left handed hitters and he stacked switch hitters and lefties. The B-team didn’t put up a ton of runs but for the majority of the game it didn’t look like it would matter as Jake Peavy cruised through his first 8 innings, and then stayed in 1 inning too long.
White Sox (84-77): 3
Indians (68-93): 4
How Masterson handled a lineup largely comprised of below average hitters may not have been of great consequence but I’m going to tell you about it anyway. He handled them. 4 hits in 6 innings, though he did burn 99 pitches getting to that point in the game. 2 of those 4 hits came in the 6th inning and that produced the only run that Masterson allowed, courtesy of an Orlando Hudson single that drove in Dewayne Wise, who doubled past third a batter earlier. Dayan Viciedo took Chris Perez deep in the 9th to give the White Sox a 3-1 lead, and the game was looking like a speedy one.
The reason we weren’t too worried about excessive scoring is that Jake Peavy was on fire. Peavy launched 8 innings of 1 hit ball, that hit being a blast by Shin-Soo Choo that put the Indians up 1-0 at the time. Unfazed, Peavy continued ripping through the lineup. He only walked 1 to go with that hit and struck out 8 along the way. We could have ended his night there and then told a brief story about how Donnie Veal got a chance to come in and earn his second save of the season. Instead, we will speculate on Jake forcefully pleading his case in the dugout in order to come out for the 9th and get his complete game. Regardless of how he got the go-ahead, Peavy came out for the 9th and faced two batters. They grabbed a single and a HR, in that order, and Jake was shown the way back to the dugout as the scoreboard showed a tie game. Donnie Veal came in for real, got one out before allowing a hit and being lifted in favor of Brett Myers. He yielded an infield hit to Carlos Santana (not kidding) but still managed to escape the inning.
There were more innings, there were more pitching changes. There were zeroes put on the board until the 12th inning. Matt Thornton got the lead-off hitter to break his bat on a ground out, but then gave up a double to Lonnie Chisenhall. After an intentional walk to set up a double play Nate Jones was brought into the game and he struck out Jake Hannahan. Jason Donald ended the game in the next at-bat with a base hit to left.
Plus: Jake Peavy’s first 8 innings were pretty remarkable. Had he not come out to try and complete the game we would be complaining about how pitching has kicked it up a notch now that the games don’t matter as much.
Minus: Jake Peavy’s 9th inning was kind of unnecessary. It cost a lot of fine people their couple of hours before bed enjoying a White Sox winner and caused them instead to stare without emotion into a TV screen waiting for some sign that the game would eventually end.
Player of the Game:
Brett Myers – .269 WPA