Coming into this season, there were plenty of doubts expressed about the White Sox offense. As much as everyone who hinted at possible troubles is a prognosticating genius deserving your undying reverance, the White Sox struggles have actually led them to undershoot everyone‘s predictions, not just those who allowed themselves the briefest moment of hope. They can’t actually be this bad. Dewayne Wise and Tyler Flowers might even be capable of starting an important rally if the timing is right.
As it turned out, the eighth inning of a game tied 2-2 in Target Field was that moment and a tiring Twins starter Kevin Correia nearing a 100 pitches was the masterful alchemist that made it all work. Furious hustle against the strong arm of Aaron Hicks gave Dewayne Wise a leadoff double off his strong liner to the gap. Despite the prototypical ‘play for one run’ situation laid out before him, Robin Ventura kept the bat in his backstop’s hand, who rewarded him by tomahawking a high fastball down the line and giving the White Sox a lead they wouldn’t relinquish in an eventual 4-2 win.
The improbable rally from the pieces of the lineup that hope forgot prevented what would have been a sour loss. Jake Peavy was admirably sharp, allowing only five hits over seven innings yet had the 2-0 lead he was staked to slowly stripped from him for less than justified reasons. One out away from pitching around a leadoff Justin Morneau double in the fifth, Peavy yielded a solid Oswaldo Arcia single to right field. Alex Rios’ on-target throw beat Morneau home by several feet, so the first basemen tried to duck around Flowers’ tag, sweeping around the base entirely before lunging backwards at the dish once more. The whole flopping ordeal looked very tiresome for the two huge men, but Morneau at least got a run for his effort.
The only problem is that the replay showed Flowers tagging out Morneau at least once, probably twice. While his and Peavy’s arguing achieved nothing, it’s noticeable that they never got thrown out while going aggressively ballistic in an umpire’s face.
Peavy fell one hitter short of pitching around another leadoff double in the seventh, with a broken-bat Trevor Plouffe single costing him the lead and pushing across the only legitimate run he allowed in seven innings of sterling work. He was robbed temporarily of the lead, but the eighth inning rally saved him the win.
In a previous life, before bathing in the waters of Lake Minnetonka and re-emerging as an idealized Minnesota Twins starter, Kevin Correia lived a life of a mocked, marginal starter, permanently at risk of being hammered and humiliated by major league hitter.
Only for two moments on Tuesday night did Correia lift the curtain and hint at his sordid history, the decisive eighth inning rally as his pitch count circled the century mark and the second inning. Right after Steve Stone took time out to mention Adam Dunn making an adjustment to raise his hands in his stance–visible or not–Dunn drove a high, middling fastball deep and gone to the right-center gap. Two pitches later, Correia threw an even slower fastball up and middle-in to Dayan Viciedo, who golfed it to the third deck of the left field seats, providing the Sox a 2-0 advantage they would try to sit on for most of the game.
-Jesse Crain was dominant in relief against his old team and Addison Reed’s save had all of its usual elements–scary, hard contact, a dominant strikeout that flashed his potential, the tying run at the plate and a successful final result.
-An out call on an Adam Dunn groundout in the sixth inning also looked dubious upon replay
Team Record: 16-21
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan