With Austin Jackson battling turf toe, the White Sox didn't need Melky Cabrera to land on the family emergency list. I doubt Cabrera needed a family emergency himself.
It left the White Sox short on position players, so it took me a minute to understand why the Sox called up Tommy Kahnle instead of an outfielder. The Sox chose to add bullpen padding. In the event of a short start or extra-inning game, Kahnle would be there to take an inning or three, in order to spare the high-leverage guys after an unusually heavy workload in Queens, followed by turnarounds under 24 hours each of the next two days.
Carlos Rodon didn't deliver a dud, but with the Sox trailing 4-2 after six, Robin Ventura decided to use Kahnle regardless. Optimistically, he'd steal a couple of good innings and keep the Sox in the game. Pessimistically, Ventura was willing to take the loss.
The latter happened, as rough innings for Kahnle and Matt Purke turned a two-run game into a rare blowout. Kahnle just got hit around, throwing 38 pitches and allowing two runs on four hits and a walk in his inning of work. Purke couldn't find the palte, throwing just 10 of 28 pitches for strikes, leading to four runs on three hits and three walks.
Perhaps Ventura would have gone to one of his better relievers had the Sox not shot themselves in the foot a few times.
Rodon took three innings to get settled, allowing four two-out hits and a pair of second-inning runs over the first two frames, then a Victor Martinez solo shot in the third, which turned a 1-0 lead into a 3-1 deficit.
Jimmy Rollins was exposed as the DH, going 0-for-3 with five stranded. After Jose Abreu made it a one-run game with an RBI double, the Sox had a chance to tie it up. Jordan Zimmermann pitched around Brett Lawrie to put runners on the corners with two outs, and Brad Ausmus called for Alex Wilson to face Rollins. He struck out looking on a backup slider that caught the outside corner on a full count to end the threat.
The lineup construction didn't help, either. In the bottom of the sixth, Rodon had a chance to get out of the evening with a quality start, as he got James McCann to hit a lazy shallow flyball to center with runners on the corners. J.B. Shuck, starting in center for Jackson, was slow to react, then took a horrible route to the ball, and had to resort to a sliding attempt. It almost worked, but the ball came out of his glove after the glove hit the ground. A speedy recovery by Lawrie cut down Mike Aviles at the plate to keep it a two-run game. (Adam Eaton should probably play center in a Jacksonless outfield until Jacob May is an option.)
Then, to cap it off in the top of the seventh, Alex Avila turned over the lineup with a double, and Eaton walked. That brought Tyler Saladino to the plate, as Ventura had experienced his own relapse by batting his worst-hitting infielder second. Sure enough, Saladino grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
With that much to overcome, Ventura chose not to throw good money after bad. With Chris Sale facing Mike Pelfrey tomorrow, the Sox stand a decent chance at getting this game back.
*Kahnle was optioned to Charlotte after the game, with a corresponding move coming Saturday. Jason Coats didn't play in Charlotte tonight.
*Miguel Cabrera left the game after apparently tweaking his back. It wouldn't be a White Sox-Tigers series without him moving like a 55-year-old rec league basketball player.