The decision to pitch around Joe Mauer with a runner on third and two outs in the sixth inning was telling, and not just because it backfired.
Granted, it did look bad, because Brian Dozier followed Mauer. Earlier in the game, Dozier homered off Poor Jose Quintana for the game’s first run, continuing a stretch of torrid hitting, especially against left-handed pitching. Choosing Dozier just didn’t seem like a markedly better play, and sure enough, Dozier ended up golfing a down-and-in curve into the White Sox bullpen for a three-run shot and a 4-0 lead.
The thought was probably that Mauer generally sees Quintana well, hitting .344/.382/.531. over 34 plate appearances entering tonight, while Dozier has historically struggled. Mauer might’ve been a better bet to single, and Dozier a better bet for extra bases, and it worked out for the Sox in the worst way possible.
The question then is, "Would it have been so bad to be down 2-0?" With the way the Sox swung the bats against Kyle Gibson tonight, a two-run deficit may have been the same as six runs. Quintana pitched well outside of his Dozier problems, but it didn’t matter.
Gibson entered 0-5 with a 6.05 ERA, including a mediocre showing against the Sox in April. Tonight, he threw seven shutout innings, allowing just five singles and a walk while striking out a season-high seven.
The only hitters who could get going had zero support. Tim Anderson had two hits and a stolen base. The three hitters behind him went 1-for-12 with five strikeouts. Brett Lawrie had two hits and two stolen bases. The hitters behind him went 1-for-11 with four strikeouts. As a result, the Sox went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
The only benefit from the offense’s complete dud: Chris Beck and Matt Purke each threw scoreless innings while the back end of the bullpen got a second consecutive day off. That’s about all this one had to offer.