The numbers aren't pretty; 3-12 record, 2.53 runs scored/game, a collective .210/.269/.325 triple slash line entering Tuesday night's game.
The White Sox Suck in Domes
Things appeared a little different at the start of Tuesday's contest. The Sox productive outed their way to a run in the first after an Orlando Cabrera single and a balk, then added two more in the second when Josh Fields hit a double down the left field line for the Sox only hit on the night with Runners in Scoring Position. With the exception of a couple of solo-shots from Konerko's Kaddies (Anderson and Swisher), the Sox bats were largely silent for the rest of the evening.
Clayton Richard appeared to be making easy work of the Twins through the first 4 innings. In fact, he had me checking out the Pitch F/X data to see how he was doing it, because I was a bit unsure myself. He was getting by on almost exclusively fastballs, with only a smattering of changeups and a couple of show-me breaking balls.
That lack of a major league repertoire game back to bite him in the 5th inning, when the Sox luck ran out. It started with a bloop single that bounced out of a diving Brian Anderson's glove, and ended, 5 runs later, with a screaming, 2 out, bases loaded line drive from Justin Morneau. In between, Richard got ahead of most batters--acting as if 1-2 was a dangerous count--but gave up a couple of walks and had a hard hit 2-out grounder ricochet off his leg into foul territory for a hit.
A half-inning later, Alexei Ramirez hit a similar ground ball, but the ricochet off of Glen Perkins foot came to rest just in front of the pitcher's mound for an easy out. It became blindingly evident that it just wasn't the Sox night when Dennys Reyes deflected a Jim Thome shot through what appeared to be a vacated hole in Minnesota's shifted defense, but Brendan Harris was there to easily make the play well on the first base side of second.
Somehow, the balls always seem to bounce the wrong way on the turf. Blow up all the domes, I say. Blow 'em up tomorrow!
On Clayton Richard's Future
While I was unimpressed by Richard's overall performance Tuesday, there is certainly a lot to like about the 24 year-old southpaw. He induced a lot of weak contact with that sinker during his first two trips through the order, and, when needed, he showed the ability to dial up his fastball, while not sacrificing much control. His changeup looked like it had the ability to be an above average major league pitch, but, with the exception of 4 straight pitches to Delmon Young, he didn't have the ability to consistently throw it just out of the zone to get hitters to chase. His low 3/4 delivery, and the inability to throw anything but a sweeping breaking ball from that angle, however, may hold him back from becoming a true major league starter.
In other words, his next start at the bigs should be his last this year. And if the Sox are serious about contending for AL Central crown, and more, they should be looking for more than just a reliever on the trade market.