One way or another, the White Sox were going to face a team with Mark Buehrle on the pitching staff this season. With the dismantling of the Marlins, he was wearing a Toronto Blue Jays uniform instead of that which he shared last season with Ozzie Guillen, and through the magic of scheduling there was a 42 on the back instead of the familiar 56. Buehrle was a media and fan favorite in Chicago during the dozen years he served as a member of the pitching staff, but the White Sox had no room for nostalgia as they need to take the series at the Rogers Centre to return home with an even halfway respectable record for the road trip.
White Sox (5-8): 3
Blue Jays (6-7): 4
A different view of Buehrls. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
The White Sox got on the board early against their old pal as they achieved the elusive hit cluster to nab a couple early runs. Singles by Jeff Keppinger, Alex Rios, Paul Konerko and Dayan Viciedo were enough for a pair and an early lead. That lead was also short lived. Gavin Floyd wasn’t feeling immediately comfortable tonight and a run was given back just as the first out was being recorded. Emilio Bonifacio tagged and scored on a deep fly ball after having reached third via double and passed ball. J.P. Arencibia homered to left, the first that Floyd would surrender to that part of the field, the second coming an inning later off the bat of Maicer Izturis. In the front half of that second inning Tyler Greene made his White Sox debut and recorded his first White Sox hit and his first White Sox pick-off followed despite some nifty dance moves. A more experienced White Sox baserunner would have been well aware of Mark Buehrle’s pickoff move, but now Green knows too.
Buehrle settled down after his rocky first in traditional fashion, fighting off the threatened hit cluster in the 3rd when the frame began with singles from Tyler Greene and Alejandro De Aza. The latter was erased by double play off the bat of Keppinger and the threat was officially put to rest when Buehrle got Konerko to strike out swinging.
Floyd didn’t make it out of the 5th, departing with the bases loaded for Hector Santiago to worry about. He didn’t have to worry for long, 3 pitches were enough to get Izturis to hit into an inning-ending double play. Floyd’s finishing line was 9 hits in 4.1 innings for 4 runs. He did strike out 6, but with those 2 homerun balls and 3 walks it would have taken a lot of offense to keep him in a position to win tonight. Buehrle for his part, went 6 and a third allowing just the 2 runs. His 9 hits allowed all stayed in the park, which goes a long way, so to speak.
Casey Janssen struck out two of the final three Sox batters to put the finishing touches on Toronto’s victory. With a poor Floyd on the mound 10 hits just aren’t enough, and the road trip continues with the White Sox digging a deeper hole to crawl out of.
Plus: Dayan Viciedo is fun to watch hit against lefties. He went 3-4 on the night with LHP Aaron Loup serving up his third hit of the night. We hope and wait he figures out how to attack right handers the same way, but until that day we rejoice at the opportunities he gets to mash lefties.
Minus: Alex Rios and Alejandro De Aza added to the team’s 2013 walk total, bringing them one closer to that of Joey Votto (21 for Votto, 18 for the Sox). It’s clearly a problem, but that doesn’t mean that Tyler Flower’s isn’t given the 3-0 green light to do what he pleases (popout). It’s early, a whole lot of baseball remains, but just for fun:
Player of the Game:
Dayan Viciedo – .246 WPA