I almost forgot that watching baseball could be fun. After not seeing a victory for two solid weeks, I've seen back-to-back well pitched games that were highly entertaining for different reasons, and the first 3-game win streak in over a month. Thursday against the Cubs, it was fun to watch another team commit the type of errors that have plagued the Sox this year, and for the Sox to actually take advantage. Tonight, we got to see the major league debut of Daniel Hudson (more later), a bit of Tyler Flowers, the continued surprisingly effective Freddy Garcia and laugher in the White Sox favor.
Garcia is playing his way into earning himself a callback with the Sox next season. It's a bit ironic. Back when Garcia was reportedly fielding offers from multiple clubs, I had the feeling that he would be most effective in a White Sox uniform, that due to a number of factors (familiarity, comfort, coaching, etc. ) his performance would he sign with a non-White-Sox team would not be directly analogous to his performance were he on the Sox. Then he underwhelmed from the first pitch he threw in NY, earned his release, and eventually caught on with the Sox who threw him almost exclusively in their rookie leagues. By the time he got the call up to take a spot in the Sox rotation, I had abandoned my pre-season theory. So Garcia can just continue to prove me wrong, or right, I don't even know anymore.
Aside from the Sox offense teeing off on a pitcher they're supposed to tee off on, Daniel Hudson's major league debut was the highlight of the evening. Hudson didn't disappoint. He hit the first batter he faced after getting ahead 1-2, but went on to retire the next six batters he faced, though, admittedly, they represented the bulk of Boston's bench and their own September call-ups.
Despite the hit batter -- he just plain held onto the ball too long -- Hudson's control was good, and the scouting reports accurate. He worked down in the zone with his fastball, and when he missed he missed low. Even the hit batter was on the foot. He was sitting at about 93MPH with the fastball, which is a little faster than the reports from Charlotte, but not out of line with his mid-season readings. I was most impressed with his changeup, which looked like a plus pitch to me. And though his slider underwhelmed my eyes through the TV -- it looked more like a straight, back-up slider rather than the sweeper you'd expect from a guy with his delivery -- the hitters didn't seem as unimpressed.
As the Sox eventually fall out of the AL Central race, they'll have plenty of guys ready to stake their claim to the list of 5th starter candidates for next season. Jim highlighted Carlos Torres' strong effort yesterday, before Freddy cemented his place in the conversation today. Throw in DJ Carrasco, who is at least deserving of being in the conversation, and hard-charging Hudson, and the Sox suddenly seem like they might have some starting depth.