Royals prove the White Sox to be undeniably mortal, win series finale
In continuing the week’s theme of The 2012 White Sox: The Sequel!, the South Siders were completely overwhelmed by Jeremy Guthrie once more, and suffered a 3-1 defeat Thursday afternoon to the Kansas City Royals, who can be quite the feisty pack of ballplayers when their starting pitcher isn’t making a mess of things.
For the second-straight day, the White Sox lopped on the added difficulty of poor outfield defense to an already tightly-contested game. Already down 1-0 with two outs in the fifth inning, Alejandro De Aza compounded the Sox troubles when he whiffed on a Chris Getz single to center. De Aza came to a full stop as he geared to try to throw out Jeff Francouer at home, only to have the ball continue its slow jaunt toward the wall unmolested. With his gifted scoring position, Getz would come around home on an Alex Gordon double later in the inning.
With Gavin Floyd‘s otherwise highly functional, strike-laden outing (Six innings, five strikeouts and just one walk) rendered ordinary by that miscue surrounded by a clump of hits, the White Sox offense had a 3-0 hill to climb against Jeremy Guthrie, and man, it was just too nice of a day for such brutal struggles.
Guthrie struck out four batters in his first two innings of work, then two more in the fourth, two more in the fifth and one more in his sixth and final frame of the day. There were no strikeouts in the third, because that’s when Guthrie had to deal with the bottom of the order, and no one in the Royals organization could retire Gordon Beckham and Tyler Flowers all day.
The No. 8 & 9 hitters combined to go 5-5 on the day with two walks and a hit-by-pitch. That created a lot of RBI opportunities for Alejandro De Aza and Jeff Keppinger, both of whom are very much working for the weekend. A ringing single to right from De Aza in the fifth provided the Sox with their only run, but was also followed up by an inning-ending Keppinger strikeout, and sandwiched between De Aza tapping a Guthrie sinker into an inning-ending double play in the third, and back-to-back meek outs from the top of the order to kill another Flowers/Beckham rally in the seventh.
The Sox still won their opening series, against a divisional opponent that’s not the Twins while winning the pitching matchups they should have and dropping the only one that looked dicey. That is satisfying. You should be satisfied. Feel good. Stop reading after this line, by all means.
But pour out a little of your first drink tonight on the ground for the four-hit day from Gordon Beckham, the continued flawless offense from Tyler Flowers, the controlled madness of Gavin Floyd, and all the other less-than-reliable occurrences that went by the boards while Dayan Viciedo and Adam Dunn were investing in wind power (seven strikeouts)
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan