The focus after tonight's game will probably be on Ozzie's decision to stick with Gavin Floyd deep into the 7th inning even though he was well over his previous career high of 116 pitches. In truth, it's hard to blame Guillen as Floyd was looking pretty strong even as his pitch count reached new heights, striking out the last two batters he retired and getting ahead of Jason Kubel 0-2 on a particularly nasty curveball on pitch #124.
But pitch #125 was one too many. There's no arguing with that. An 0-2 rolling backdoor curve that didn't do a whole lot, that Kubel pushed just far enough to get over the left field wall.
It's easy to sit back and say Ozzie should have handed the ball to Chris Sale; the young lefthander was loose in the pen. But Sale has had the not-ready-for-primetime feel about him in most of his outings. My own thought was that I'd rather take my shot with Floyd, who had pitched very well since he was briefly rattled, balking in a run in the 3rd, than with the unpredictable young lefty.
Sale eventually relieved Floyd and retired all 4 batters he faced. I think he'll be called upon next time a Sox pitcher cracks 115 and it's time for the Second Lefty™. And I'm sure I'll be fine with it by then, but it felt right for Floyd to take ownership of the game. In the end, it didn't matter.
But the real story of the night wasn't about the Sox pitching but their performance with the bases loaded. All told, they went 1-7 with the bases loaded, with only 2 balls leaving the infield. Some credit has to be given to Francisco Liriano, who seemed to find his slider anytime the bases were juiced. But the Sox have to come through with more than one hit there -- even a walk, a hbp, a sac fly, a balk would do. The 5th inning was especially painful, as the Sox loaded the bases with nobody out, had their 3-4-5 hitters coming to the plate, then proceed to go groundout (1-3), K, K.
If not for the well groomed infield that keeps balls close to the line fair, the Sox might have been shutout completely. Their only run came on an A.J. Pierzynski swinging bunt that queued back into fair territory and onto the infield grass up the thirdbase line after it had already touched the line.
The Sox now sit as losers of their last two series and 5 of their last 7 games, while the Twins haven't lost a series since July 19-21 against the Cleveland Indians. Game on. Will the Sox right the ship against the equally struggling Detroit Tigers?
edit by larry: Viciedo sent down, Teahen up tomorrow.