Gavin Floyd was late taking the mound on this warm evening in Washington DC, thanks to the tardy umpires who cited traffic as their obstacle. Pretty amateur, guys. It's DC. Aren't you kind of expecting convoy delays wherever you go?
When Floyd got started, he looked sharp and in control (or so Farmer and DJ narrated, as I drove home from work). Within the first five outs of the game, he had three strikeouts and seemed to be hitting his stride rather nicely against what we've seen to be a tough Washington Nationals offense.
Add that to the promising bottom 1st inning, which featured a run about as "manufacturey" as the 2013 White Sox have mustered in their first eight games. Last night, a balk got the Sox their only bases-loaded run. Tonight, it was almost equally as exciting when Adam Dunn slapped a grounder to the first baseman, which scored Jeff Keppinger (you heard me!) from 3rd on the out.
The Sox possessed the lone run until the bottom of the 4th, when Bryce Harper crushed Floyd's first-pitch 85-mph cutter right down the pipe. Craziest thing, it's almost like the Nationals noticed that Gavin was throwing those meaty first-pitch strikes and adjusted their plate approach accordingly. Anyway, a couple hits later, the Nats left the fourth with the 2-1 lead and never looked back. At best, the Sox nipped at some heels for the remainder of the game; but always felt a little outmatched on both offense and defense.
The 4th changed everything and it wasn't when Harper ripped the ball to right field. At the top of that inning, the Sox still had the lead and a semblance of pep and momentum when Alex Rios started off with a single. Then, in a most baffling event, Rios took off for 2nd on a 2-0 count with Adam Dunn at the plate. Wait, allow me to clarify. I don't mean to imply that the ball was ever headed towards the catcher. As Jordan Zimmerman was merely poised to pitch, and Dunn stood in the box with fastballz on the brain, Rios took off for the needless bag. He was out at 2nd by at least a trafficky DC mile. Sheesh! Even the 7 year-old me knows better than to run on that
pitch not pitch.
- Despite a promising start to the game, Floyd only pitched 5.1 innings and earned all 5 of the Nats' runs.
- Alejandro De Aza hit his third double of the young season tonight, which ultimately put him in a position to become the Sox second and final run of the game, on none other than a ground-out!
- Rios and Conor Gillaspie both went 2-4; but neither crossed the plate tonight. Sox were 0-6 with RISP, to the Nats' 4-10. (It's almost like those numbers should negate each other, right?!)
- I miss home runs.
- If you want to fall asleep to fonder Floyd @ Nationals memories, queue up this puppy and enjoy Floyd masterfully keeping pace and outlasting Stephen Strasburg in an extra-inning duel from 2010.
(h/t elgonzo4sox, who triggered the recollection in the gamethread tonight)