Gavin Floyd threw the White Sox 10th consecutive quality start, but one poor inning was enough make him the 3rd Sox starter of the month to get hung with the dreaded complete game loss. The Sox have thrown 3 complete games this season, all losses, during which the offense has plated a total of 4 runs.
Floyd had no-hit stuff early in the outing Friday night -- He threw about the nastiest changeup I've ever seen in the 4th -- and carried another no-hitter into the 5th inning. But he grooved a first-pitch fastball to Torii Hunter, who promptly gave the ball a one-way ticket to section 159. And then Gavin got wild, really wild.
Mike Napoli walked on 4 pitches. Robb Quinlan hit an innocent enough looking first-pitch single into left field. 5 more pitches to Sean Rodriguez, 4 more balls. Now Floyd was in trouble with the bases loaded and no concept of how to get a pitch into the strike zone.
When Floyd threw the first pitch to Maicer Izturis in the opposite batter's box, AJ pointed to his shoulder to indicate he was flying open. Floyd over-corrected and threw a meat-seeking fastball to plate another run. Since he was no longer able to get the fastball over, AJ called for the slider to Gary Matthews. Mistake. Another HBP, another run.
The inning was ended mercifully by Vlad Guerrero, who swung at the first pitch from a pitcher who walked two and hit two batters with 2 outs. Two of Floyd's previous 13 pitches went for strikes, yet Vlad was hacking first pitch. That's a special kind of stupid in the batter's box, but Vlad's a special kind of batter so he can get away with it.
Floyd would rebound to allow just one baserunner over the last 4 innings, but the offense couldn't get anything started against Joe Saunders after a mild first inning threat. The Sox first two batters of the night reached base (on a walk and bunt hit), but the 3-4-5 hitters repeated their 0-3 w/RISP of Thursday's first inning, minus the sacrifice fly.
As has become habit over the last 10 games the Sox bats fell silent in the middle innings. During that stretch, the Sox have posted the following lines (see table at right), which generally represents the second time through the order. During their 8 game winning streak, they scored just once in those innings. Combine that with tonight's blanking and they've scored 1 run in their last 27 3rd-5th innings. That's a special kind of consistency.
I'll reserve making any rash statements about the offense until they get shut down by Jered Weaver again Saturday. Ah what the hell, let's have one shot at the offense. Carlos Zambrano had as many hits as the White Sox Friday night.