Orlando Cabrera is growing into his role as the White Sox leadoff hitter, and his teammates are learning to follow his lead. Yesterday, he showed them how to give away outs on the basepaths, and today he set the tone with a 1-pitch at-bat to start the game. Following his lead, the next 8 Sox batters needed just 20 pitches to make their outs.
Justin Verlander was the story of the night. He threw strikes, and the Sox offense seemed more than happy to quickly put them in play. Weakly. In the air. Verlander wasn't missing bats--he'd have to work deep counts to do that--but he got by inducing consistently weak contact on his fastball.
The Sox only put together one rally, when Cabrera doubled down the left field line to break up the no-hit bid and was then followed by an AJ Pierzynski single down the right field line. Continuing the theme of the series, Pierzynski was thrown out at second base (though replays showed he was safe) to kill the rally.
Verlander's counterpart, Javier Vazquez, was undone in the second inning by a 14-pitch at-bat by Miguel Cabrera. Vazquez (and Hawk) thought he had Cabrera struck out on the final pitch, but the umpire disagreed. The perceived blown call and a dropped ball by Orlando Cabrera on what would have been a spectacular fielder's choice, seemed to bring back First-Half '06 Javy. He threw hanging slider to Marcus Thames, who is a poor hitter with a 'slider-speed bat,' that ended up in the left field bullpen, effectively ending the game. Vazquez racked up his strikeouts, but the rest of the outing had that sort of disinterested, You Guys Let Me Down vibe to it, as Javy tried to be too fine with his pitches, walked some guys, and gave Detroit a couple more insurance runs.
- The White Sox 3-8 hitters combined to go 0-19, with #9 hitter Brian Anderson recording half of the Sox positive at-bats on the evening.
- The 4 hits snapped a streak of 9 straight games with at least 10 or more hits, and marked their lowest total since... wait for it... 9 games ago when they got blanked by the Rays.
- The 9 game streak was the Sox second longest of the retrosheet era (since '56), behind only a 13-game streak by the '97 squad.