The last living White Sox position player high-fives a beloved ghost // Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Max Scherzer vs. Andre Rienzo is already a fairly lopsided, goofy mismatch, especially considering the offenses behind each. The absurdity was only ramped up a notch when Rienzo was scratched due to a blister on his hand and Dylan Axelrod was jammed in to replace him. Think of the type of performance that has become typical of Axlerod in the second half. Then think of two of the worst relievers in the White Sox bullpen getting the nod because: who cares?
Now imagine that it rained furiously for nearly the entire night in Detroit, giving the feel that everyone was racing to reach the point of the game where it became official…then they miserably kept playing for some reason.
Did you guess 12-5 Tigers victory? You did, because I guessed it for you.
The only interesting thing that happened was Avisail Garcia‘s glorious return. He hit a home run: a long, arcing and beautiful home run that healed the cataracts of every set of aged eyes that laid upon it. But there’s plenty of time to talk about it still. It’s still in the air, after all.
Dylan Axelrod had no semblance of a chance against the Tigers lineup. His mistakes in the zone were frequent and they were begging for punishment. He retired eight of the 20 Tigers batters he faced, allowed five hits alone in the final inning he appeared, and left to go dry off after allowing seven earned runs in 2.2 innings. A momentary whiff of competitiveness is apparently a bit too much to ask from an emergency starter when the team has already shut down two members of their rotation. Charlie Leesman hasn’t pitched since September 14, however.
To put out the fire already set, Robin Ventura brought out everyone’s favorite gasoline-soaked hurler, Ramon Troncoso. Waltzing into a burning building with a martini in his hand, Troncoso allowed one of his inherited runners to score in the third, and only avoided being charged for two earned runs in the fifth because he personally dropped the easy feed from Paul Konerko while running over to cover first base, starting the five-run inning. David Purcey came on to relieve Troncoso with two outs already and allowed four-straight hits, including a Victor Martinez home run and an Omar Infante triple. It became 12-3 Tigers very quickly.
It was easy to stop caring about this game, or accept its results, which I imagine many did shortly after “Dylan Axelrod will be starting on short notice” was announced. But Avisail Garcia returned, and returned in a way that reminded why he served as a reason to watch in his first couple of weeks in Chicago. Seven pitches into an at-bat in the fourth where he struggled to turn around any Max Scherzer fastballs but showed improvement by not swinging through any of them, Garcia got a loopy hanging curveball that he golfed to the nether regions of the universe situated behind left field in Comerica Park, knocking in Paul Konerko, who can only close his eyes and remember of when he could touch those corners of the park.
Garcia also wrapped up a two-run eighth for the Sox by pounding an RBI triple to the left-center gap, giving him two extra-base hits on the night after he recorded only one over his last 12 games. Conor Gillaspie tripled as well in the eight, Marcus Semien brought him home with a crushed sacrifice fly to the left field warning track and that’s the full report from Positions Players Worth Paying To See Hit. As a throw-in, I’ll offer the information that Jordan Danks went 0-4 with two strikeouts.
Given that every pitcher the White Sox used except for Daniel Webb, who got to work the last 1.2 innings, was replacement-level or worse, this game had everything you could ask for as a future-minded viewer
Team Record: 60-93
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