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May 27, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) throws a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Runs would have been nice, Sox blown out of Crosstown opener

May 27, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez (10) attempts to make the tag on Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro (13) during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Quintana didn’t have his best control, Alexei Ramirez didn’t cover second base on a steal attempt in the first inning, Julio Borbon somehow turned around a high fastball from Jose Quintana and yanked it out to right field, Tyler Flowers hideously short-armed a throw on a third strike wild pitch, Alejandro De Aza was rendered helplessly confused by the presence of an outfield wall and Nate Jones’ peripherals are awfully troubling when I take the time to look at them.

All of these are appropriately disconcerting things that happened along the way to the White Sox getting annihilated 7-0 by the Cubs in front of their biggest crowd since Opening Day, but all were secondary abrasions on a corpse that was DOA.

The White Sox couldn’t hit Jeff Samrdzija, they could not come close to hitting Jeff Samardzija. “The Shark” threw a complete-game, two-hit shutout where he didn’t allow a runner past first base until there were two outs in the ninth. Conor Gillaspie removed any ‘no-hitter’ hysteria by leading off the third inning with a solid single to right field, which was great, because otherwise the no-hitter drama would have been INTENSE.

No single game can encapsulate a season, especially not a blowout loss for a team that deals with overwhelming amounts of late-inning drama every night, but it was telling the focus paid to the ugly dressing the Sox put on an empty plate. Samardzija looked as good as ever, flashing high-90′s late into the night, calling upon wipe-out breaking pitches whenever needed, but he wasn’t challenged, because there aren’t many challenges in this lineup. The rest of team struggling to live up to the impossible standards dictated by the offense is irrelevant.

The Cubs got their scoring started on an Alonso Soriano wall-single in a first inning extended by Alexei Ramirez failing to cover the bag on a Starlin Castro stolen base. Otherwise, Jose Quintana struck out the side and hit 94 mph regularly. That was the most hopeful moment of the game.

Quintana was only hitting 92 mph when Julio Borbon turned-and-burned (after striking out pathetically in his first two times up) on a high fastball for a two-run homer to right field, and ended poorly by letting an Anthony Rizzo leadoff double come around to score on a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Obviously it was not one of his better nights, but his arm looked strong. Unless he suddenly became incompetent, he’s somewhere between this night and his last start.

Nate Jones got a large portion of the blame for the seventh inning tire fire, presumably because he’s been struggling all year and this seemed to confirm it. But Tyler Flowers erasing one of the few whiffs Jones earned off the board with a ludicrously weak throw to first on a ball that got away and Alejandro De Aza having one his occasional wall episodes on a Rizzo fly ball to dead center exacerbated what wound up being a three-run inning.

Team Record: 24-25

Box Score

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Tags: Chicago White Sox Jeff Samardzija Jose Quintana

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