That headline would have been a happier result and probably would have reflected better on the state of the organization. It would at the very least be a new wrinkle in a season that seems to be content to pump out “murder of the day” scripts every night.
Instead the White Sox were annihilated 10-3 by the team closest to them in the AL Central standings on a stream of defensive miscues, while making the tomato can lefty they flipped to the Twins last season look like a major leaguer and letting one of the worst major league regulars in baseball go ballistic for good measure.
Sometime in the eighth inning, Hawk Harrelson let out a long snort, or blew a raspberry or just made the ultimate sonic representation of disgust, right into his microphone. It was appropriate, since it came right after Justin Morneau hit a bases clearing double, which had come right after garbage-time reliever Deunte Heath walked a run in, which came right after Heath slowplayed a sacrifice bunt into a hit, which came a little after a ball dropped right over the head of a panicked and mournful Alexei Ramirez and at the feet of loping Alejandro De Aza to lead off the inning.
Before that, there was Aaron Hicks, owner of a .137/.239/.216 slash line coming in, homering twice off Hector Santiago and saving the hardest ball Adam Dunn has hit this month from leaving the yard. Aaron Hicks is better than Adam Dunn now. It used to be close.
But I wouldn’t want to focus any blame on Hector Santiago for more than a passing moment. The man was one out away from a quality start, after all, and taught the Minnesota people about the wonder of pitchers who get strikeouts. If nothing else, Santiago is a true starter now, since cleaning up the mess of his bases loaded, nobody out-jam in the third inning was a job for a fireman. Surely there’s a roster spot available for Tom Gordon.
Instead, after inducing a harmless flyout not deep enough to score a run, a challenging potential double play ball was hit to the right man–Alexei Ramirez. Instead, he booted it and the inning exploded on the strength of a two-run Trevor Plouffe double.
10 runs is quite the collaboration of pitching and defense breakdowns, but it’s not like it was an impossible task. The White Sox were handed Pedro Hernandez as an opposing starter, who was one half of last year’s trade package for Francisco Liriano that was lovingly described as “air.” Yet fresh off a demolition at the hands of Boston in his previous start and facing the decent cadre of lefty-mashers the Sox were able to cobble together, Hernandez weathered a rough first inning, delivered the Twins into the sixth with a three-run lead and didn’t allow Dayan Viciedo nor Casper Wells to safely reach base.
Robin’s enthusiasm–or fierce irritation–is heartwarming for a fan base that feels wrong by this team’s incompetence, but it’s likely that his tolerance for this play hasn’t been the issue.
Team Record: 15-21
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan