Jose Quintana’s 1st inning consisted of quite a few singles, 3 of them, to be exact. When that happens at the top of a lineup the result is generally at least one run, which is what the Blue Jays got. When they scratched another across in the 3rd the game had all the makings of another tough loss for Quintana. Luckily, some timely hitting and a little boost from shoddy Blue Jay defense pushed Quintana and the White Sox into the fortunate column.
White Sox (63-52): 3
Blue Jays (55-61): 2
When the 5th inning started, the Sox found themselves staring at a 2-0 deficit and a sinkerballer on the mound. A.J. Pierzynski got things started with a base hit, and D(H)ayan Viciedo kept it moving with his second hit of the day a batter later. Following a Gordon Beckham flyout, Alejandro De Aza put the Southsiders on the board with hit to right field. White Sox boomerang Dewayne Wise then tied the game up with a knock to centerfield. The Blue Jays would take care of the rest. Blue Jay starter Henderson Alvarez attempted to pick Wise off of first but instead threw the ball away, enabling De Aza to score what would ultimately be the winning run.
Quintana went 6.2 innings allowing just the two runs, but definitely got some more smiles from the BABIP god (BABIP Buddha?). With the bases loaded, dangerous hitter Edwin Encarnacion stepped to the plate and did what he tends to do; he hit the ball hard. Kevin Youkilis, ever the strategist, was standing in the path of the ball, caught it and threw to second to double off Rajai Davis and end the inning. His hand may not have appreciated the play, but the rest of us did.
The bullpen, which is much easier to watch these days despite last night’s hiccup from Leyson Septimo, did their job, including Addison Reed: Closer, who locked it down with the 4 inning save.
Plus: When you do the little things and don’t create runs for the other team, from time to time they’ll create them for you. There was a short stretch a couple of weeks back where the White Sox had some trouble on defense, but since then they’ve cleaned it back up. In games that are decided late, or by a single run, those extra outs are what swings it and tonight the Blue Jays were the team that handed over a run, and a win.
Minus: It paid off this time, Dewayne Wise delivered the game tying hit and arguably put the Sox in a position to win. But Wise batting second in the lineup is a questionable practice. Lineup construction may not be the most important thing in the world, but the better the hitter, the higher up he should probably bat. Baseball tends to produce “any given night” situations” that defy the numbers, as occurred in this one, but it’s probably not a good idea to put a career journeyman carrying a .259 OBP in a position to get too many extra at-bats. You could say at least it wasn’t Gordon Beckham, though.
Player of the Game
Addison Reed – .317 Win Probability Added