Gavin Floyd and those 1983 uniforms took front and center today, neither able to do enough to bring in a victory. While Mauer-Willingham-Morneau is a solid core of the lineup, the rest of the lineup has some conspicuous holes including Aaron Hicks, so today was an opportunity for Floyd to start pulling his season together.
Twins (8-7): 5
White Sox (7-11): 3
It was Jeff Keppinger’s 33rd birthday today, and he was even presented with in-game gifts. Without the benefit of a hit, Keppinger had 2 runs batted in, both via sacrifice fly and both made possible by poor Minnesota fielding. The first, which was ultimately deemed a hit and thus an earned run against Scott Diamond, came off the bat of Alejandro De Aza when he lifted a fly ball to left field that Josh Willingham misplayed resulting in a double. A ball in the dirt moved him along to third so that Kepp could do what he does best: make contact. An RBI groundout brought in the first White Sox run in about 24 hours. After his second sac-fly, created by an Alejandro De Aza bunt-turned-triple, Jeff Keppinger has 3 sacrifice flies and zero walks for the rare batting average that is higher than his on-base percentage. Happy birthday, I guess.
Floyd’s 6 innings went by smoothly for the most part, starting the game throwing 4-seamers and cutters almost exclusively, and keeping the ball low and away. He pitched himself into trouble in the 6th, letting up a pair of hits and giving out a couple walks, one of which tied the game at 1.
Lindstrom would be tasked with preserving the lead in the 7th. he walked Plouffe on 4-pitches as a first step in this endeavor, which struck me as remarkably dubious, and Plouffe would advance on a passed ball to the backstop. Lindstrom would wind up striking out Arcia, which would mean the at bat simulated the bunt he originally came up to the plate indicating he would do. Then Aaron Hicks – he of the 2/49 career hitting mark – squeaked a grounder into right for an RBI single.
Hicks would then steal second, after Lindstrom repeatedly demonstrated his awful pickoff move, and Flowers telegraphed the pitch out attempt well before the pitch was thrown. Jamey Carroll would then chop an infield single into the hole and Lindstrom would leave having surrendered the lead to a string of AAA players, with runners on 1st & 3rd with two out. Ventura tabbed Donnie VealDonnie Veal to face Joe Mauer. Veal walked Mauer on 4 pitches and then hit the crowded showers, as Crain entered to face Willingham with the bases loaded. Willingham destroyed the first pitch he saw for a bases-clearing double to right field, and the White Sox were down 5-2, an utterly insurmountable total given how their offense has been playing all season.
Plus: Gavin Floyd got a stellar outing under his belt in 2013. Unfortunately good showings from Floyd are rarely the types that inspire hope that he’s turning a corner, but just a reminder that though he’s inconsistent, he does have the tools to perform.
Minus: Continued offensive struggles. A hit that shouldn’t have been still only brought the tally to 5. Adam Dunn did break a long slump by hitting an ultimately meaningless HR but signs of life from the big fella to go with his 3 strikeout day.
Player of the Game:
Gavin Floyd – .223 WPA