Phegley can’t do it by himself–punchless Sox swept out of Tampa


Jul 7, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher John Danks (50) throws a pitch during the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We all like Josh Phegley and have unreasonably high expectations for him, but asking him to single-handedly power the White Sox past the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays seems like a bit much. The recently called up Phegley skied a grooved cutter to left-center for the first home run of his career; ending the Sox scoring drought in the sixth inning after nearly taking a high David Price changeup out to left field in the fourth.

Unfortunately, unsurprisingly and unfortunately unsurprisingly, that was all the Sox could muster in a swift and tidy 3-1 loss, completing a winless weekend in Tampa. After Robin Ventura madly shuffled the deck of the lineup, he was rewarded with pretty-looking singles, but no rallies of substance.

The hot-hitting Gordon Beckham singled twice, Dayan Viciedo and Brent Morel singled back-to-back in the fourth, but crisp base hits are a bear to string together, and the Sox erased two of their eight hits by getting caught stealing on Jose Molina. Phegley’s home run trot was the only time a White Sox batter touched third base and David Price completed nine innings of work without breaking 100 pitches.

John Danks for his part, looked fine and dandy around momentary lapses in control. His location was a mess in the first inning, providing Desmond Jennings with a booming double to the center field warning track to lead off the game. After allowing Jennings to come home on a sacrifice fly, Danks begin to dot the outside corners with his changeup, allowing two baserunners and striking out three over the next three frames.

But after starting the fifth inning with two quick outs, Yunel Escobar set off a rally by ripping a high, flat fastball to left. Danks, wanting no part of him after the punishment he suffered earlier, walked Jennings on four pitches and broke Sean Rodriguez’s bat by placing a cutter on his hands. As the barrel shard from Rodriguez’s mangled weapon flapped down the third base line, so did the ball slide under Brent Morel’s diving reach, scoring Escobar.

Two runs was enough for Tampa to finish to sweep, but a long drive off the bat of Luke Scott took Alex Rios to the wall in the seventh. The ball eluded Rios’ somewhat blind leap for it, kicked off and skirted away from the right fielder while he circled about looking for answers. In the time Rios spent searching for his target, the 35 year-old Scott ambled around for a triple, before scoring on a Jose Molina sacrifice fly.

Danks was able to finish the seventh and secured his third-straight quality start. The White Sox have offered him six runs of support over those three games.

Team Record: 34-51

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