A single play in Friday night’s series opener cost the White Sox two starters for Saturday. Both Alexei Ramirez and Alejandro De Aza would have to sit this one after having collided on a play in right-center field the previous night. A.J. Pierzynski has still not returned from his strained oblique (though he is expected to start on Sunday). The result is the “Day of Rest Lineup” that everybody loves so much. The DRL was tasked with backing up Philip Humber. Needless to say the odds were stacked against the White Sox from the get go.
White Sox (55-45): 5
Rangers (58-41): 2
A couple errors looked to be trying to point Philip Humber toward a loss early, but Humber managed to pitch over without issue and the 4th inning began without either team having gotten a hit. That’s when Adam Dunn jumpstarted the offense with an infield hit. Yeah, it’s true; I’m not making this up. Paul Konerko followed by launching a 2-run blast to left field.
In the 5th, Jordan Danks singled and was brought home on an Eduardo Escobar double. Escobar tried to stretch into a triple and failed, but the run still scored. Unfortunately it could have been worth an extra run as Kevin Youkilis walked next and Adam Dunn hit a homerun to straightaway center, another 2-run bomb. That makes the last 8 White Sox homeruns of the 2 run variety.
Philip Humber didn’t need a whole lot of support tonight as it would turn out, and he would have cruised with or without the help he received. The only blip on his evening being a solo homerun by Mike Napoli in the 5th. In the 7th Humber faltered a bit, allowing a triple and a walk to lead off the inning. Jesse Crain was called upon to keep the runners where they were, and he succeeded. The team is back to executing on both sides of ball and it is fun to watch. The White Sox have the Rangers number this season, and while most teams fear (and they should) playing the AL West leaders, the Sox are in a position to embrace it.
Plus: Pitching came up big in this one. Not only did Philip Humber have an unexpectedly successful outing on a hot night against a power lineup, but the bullpen came in and got the job done. Jesse Crain pitching out of an inherited jam, Brett Myers turning in a perfect inning (perfect bullpen inning! It’s been so long!) and Matt Thornton finishing out the game, despite the one run allowed.
Minus: On an evening where a fractured lineup took the field, the Pale Hose stretched their division lead to 2.5 games on the Tigers after losing the lead at the beginning of the week. Pass on the minus for the evening.
Player of the Game
Philip Humber – .167 Win Expectancy added