There are times when the game doesn't matter, when you're distracted by something bigger, something more important. Last night kinda feels like one of those nights.
The White Sox have fought back from 9 games under .500 and after tonight's win sit at 6 games over, a high-water mark for the season, just one game back of the division-leading Tigers. But it's not optimism or elation or even satisfaction that I feel right now. No, it's more like trepidation, a woeful anticipation of what could be a major setback to the heart of this White Sox team.
As Jake Peavy left the mound last night, he might have taken the White Sox AL Central hopes with him. Peavy struggled out of the gate this season, just as the Sox did as a team: if it wasn't his location, it was his velocity, and maybe both; if it wasn't a predictably poor offense, the pitching would fail, and in late May it was often both. Perhaps no other player has better served as a barometer for the teams direction -- maybe Quentin or Floyd -- and even though the Sox won tonight it still feels like they lost.
Jake Peavy had turned his season around. He wasn't going to win a Cy Young award, but he had fought through nagging injuries and looked every bit the part of the inning-eating, near-elite pitcher the Sox thought they were getting when they traded for him (twice). Now we learn that he actually injured his lat sometime during his last start in KC, perhaps overcompensating for the shoulder soreness (and fluid) he had been experiencing. And even though the diagnosis of a strained latissimus dorsi doesn't sound too serious, the post-game comments and descriptions don't sound too promising.
"It’s something up under my underarm. It goes down into my lat is where I have some swelling."
"I know that I don’t feel very good at all right now. That’s all I can tell you."
To a man, every locker room media member noted how down the usually upbeat Peavy sounded. This doesn't sound like it's going to be some quick 3-5 start DL trip.
I'm a pretty big fan of Daniel Hudson -- he's gonna be a solid big league starter -- but it's not fair for anyone to have to fill Peavy's shoes. This team didn't have much margin for error in the first place, and removing Peavy certainly doesn't help.
Maybe the bigger issue involves the trade front. I think we can all agree that even though the Sox have been the best team in the Central for the last 5 weeks, they're not going to win this division as presently constructed. They've got a few too many holes. Losing Peavy for whatever amount of time doesn't just create another one but removes what is probably the Sox biggest trading chit from the equation as well. Any team looking to sell off parts at the deadline figured to be asking for Hudson from the lackluster list of Sox prospects. And even though most of us didn't want him traded, he was being dangled in talks behind the scenes. With Kenny Williams at the helm, you can be sure of it.
So even though the Sox won last night, even though they're better positioned for a loss to their starting rotation than almost any team in baseball, I found little joy in this victory. Sometimes the bigger picture matters more than a W.