White Sox hit franchise-tying seven home runs, but fall to Blue Jays at home
After a rough start to the month the White Sox seem to have found a second life here in the latter half of the June schedule. Coming off of a series win in Boston and a victory in the first game of this series with the Blue Jays, the White Sox are breathing a fresh dose of optimism into an otherwise wary fan base. With Cleveland showing no signs of slowing down and Kansas City remaining just a step ahead of the White Sox in the standings things are heating up here in the final weeks before the All-Star break.
Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez delivered just short of seven innings of one-run ball in his start against the Red Sox last week, so White Sox fans like myself were looking forward to seeing what Miguel could bring against the powerhouse offense of Toronto. Unfortunately the temperature at the ballpark hit a sweltering ninety degrees so the air was thin and perfect for the long ball, which both teams happily supplied.
The Blue Jays touched up Gonzalez for five runs over the first two innings, including a home run off the bat of second baseman Devon Travis. The White Sox were quick to answer with back-to-back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the second inning in the form of an inside-the-park home run from Brett Lawrie and solo shots from Dioner Navarro and J.B. Shuck. The Blue Jays tacked on three more runs in the top of the fourth to pad their lead but the Sox chipped away with Brett Lawrie’s second home run of the game in the fourth inning, a Lawrie RBI single in the sixth inning, a Tim Anderson home run in the seventh, and an Alex Avila home run in the eighth.
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Sox relievers Chris Beck and Dan Jennings were able to hold the Blue Jays offense in check long enough for the White Sox to pull within one run. Despite their solid outings, it was Michael Ynoa who allowed the two extra runs that the Blue Jays needed to put the game just out of reach for the White Sox. Adam Eaton hit a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth, but that was all the White Sox offense could muster and the game ended with the Blue Jays winning by a score of 10-8. Not too often in baseball do you see a team club seven home runs and come away with a loss, but I suppose that’s what makes the game of baseball so interesting.
As I see it there are three fundamental facets to the game of baseball – offense, defense, and pitching. It seems like this year the White Sox are having a tough time getting all three to click at once. Every once in a while they will display all three and when that happens they are a tough team to beat.
We saw it a lot early on in the season but not so much anymore. More often than not, though, they have just one, maybe two of those facets. The White Sox brought eight runs across the plate – a number that would normally be enough to win a ballgame for any team. If Miguel Gonzalez had come out and pitched the way he did against a Boston team that is just as good as these Blue Jays then this recap may look a little different. The White Sox pitching staff struggled to find the strike zone and when they did, the Blue Jays were able to put the ball out of reach of the nearest defender. Not much a defense can do about that.
So far this year the Sox have struggled to get consistency out of the last two slots in the starting rotation. Even with the hot start Mat Latos had to the season, his advanced stats showed it was only a matter of time until the regression set in. John Danks never looked the same since his injury, and the pitchers filling his spot in the rotation have been just as difficult to watch. White Sox fans know what to expect when Sale, Quintana, and (for the most part) Rodon take the mound but the two games that follow are a big question mark. As frustrating as that is from a fan point of view, I can only imagine how the White Sox front office must feel as the team tries to stay in the hunt for a division title.
Only time will tell what will come of the back portion of the rotation but for now the White Sox look forward to Sunday’s matinée tilt in the final game of this series against the Blue Jays. Chris Sale and his 12-2 record will take the mound against Marcus Stroman and his 5.32 ERA. Lets hope the White Sox bats can stay hot and give Sale his Major League-leading thirteenth victory.
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