At this point, every loss in the season helps the future in terms of draft position, but there's danger in getting carried away. If every player punts the stretch, it makes it that much harder to shape an offensive core to eventually support a the pitching staff, and it turns the remaining contracts into dead weight. Ideally, individual triumphs in a losing effort is the best of both worlds.
Under these circumstances, the White Sox lost productively today.
Take Alexei Ramirez. He hit his first homer since the second game of the season, which gave the Sox a temporary 3-1 lead. He also added a single to boost his average to .287, and on the defensive side, he made a fine diving stop, followed by a heads-up throw to third, starting the rare no-throw rundown. Ramirez's contract still has a couple years remaining, which means he could be around at the start of the turnaround. More likely, if he could regain some sock, he could build up the trade value he lacked this time around. This was a nice development.
Likewise, John Danks threw a start that was better than his final line indicated. Here's what he would've done if Robin Ventura hadn't sent him out to start the seventh on 104 pitches:
6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 1 HR
But after he walked the first two batters, here's how it ended up:
6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 9 K, 1 HR
I don't see the need to keep pushing starters past the 110-pitch mark at this point in the season, especially since shoulder injuries tend to resurface. But he walked those batters, setting up military management:
- Left (Danks)
- Right (Matt Lindstrom, retiring the only batter he faced
- Left (Donnie Veal, walking the only batter he faced)
- Right (Nate Jones)
Jones struck out Josh Willingham for the second out, but Justin Morneau fought off a couple two-strike pitches before getting a low fastball to his liking. He turned on it for a grand slam that gave the Twins a 5-3 lead.
Seeing Jones give up a homer in that situation hurt, although he's been throwing so well that he probably had a blip coming. On the other hand, the solo shots allowed by David Purcey and Ramon Troncoso afterwards are basically par for the course.
It is curious that Ventura used five relievers in the first game of a doubleheader when a rookie is starting the second. But those homers (or at least one of them) were necessary for Minnesota, as the Sox tagged Glen Perkins for a couple runs before Adam Dunn, representing the tying run, struck out to end the game. I guess having fewer questions about management philosophy would be another nice thing to get out of the last two months.
- The White Sox are now 12-32 against the AL Central.
- Paul Konerko hit a homer, which was another neat individual feat to see.
- This made me laugh:
Justin Morneau would be a great pickup for any contending team planning to face the White Sox in the playoffs.— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) August 9, 2013