There’s that sinking feeling again, rooted in the pit of my stomach and threatening to pull me under a cloud of dark anticipation about what will happen over the next three weeks.
The Chicago White Sox started a key road trip facing a rival in the suddenly-tighter-than-a-dry-drumhead AL Central, a trip on which the White Sox need to play their best if they hope to remain in the thick of division race, particularly since they will spend about three weeks playing out-of-division opponents after this series.
Before discussing any other aspect of the game, I just have to ask, what was up with the moths? The video I could find does not come close to doing justice to the invasion that occurred in the late innings, and fortunately for fans on the South Side and in the Twin Cities, these were only moths and not flesh-eating locusts, for the latter would surely have left fans of both teams with no one for whom to cheer for the rest of 2014. Or something. Kirby the Kestrel must have had the night off.
The “entertaining” version of the White Sox bullpen put in an appearance on Thursday night, allowing runners to reach base and then score. Jake Petricka also allowed Joe Mauer to do something he has barely done at all this year–drive in multiple runs in a game.
I wish I could sit back and be more entertained when the bullpen decided to be, uh, “entertaining,” but instead it just makes me grind my teeth and write bad prose.
I realize the real kick in the head from this game was how a 30-year-old-non-prospect-rookie starter shut down the White Sox offense over seven innings. Chicago starter Jose Quintana was good, but Yohan Pino matched him in many respects, both relying on bullpen help to prevent good work from going to waste.
That’s one source of the sinking feeling: the White Sox bullpen coughing up the game, for Petricka was not sharp, and Robin Ventura left him out there, and the Twins made the most of the opportunity, while the White Sox could not break through against Twins relievers.
The Sox just have to be better against back-of-the-rotation types and relief pitchers. I mean, they do not have to be better against such pitchers to finish the season, though failing to be better against will probably eliminate them from contention in a division that seems ripe for the taking.
It is not as though I am mad at the Sox, just disappointed and sad. Sometimes the best entertainment is a nice, boring string of three-run home runs from the Men in the Black Hats. Sometimes.