To be fair to the White Sox, and their extremely cold bats, which were responsible for ending a five-game winning streak with a discouraging dull thud in Tampa, they were not in the Florida sun like the headline claims; they were flailing helplessly inside a hidden den on the bay that never looks fully lit.
To be more fair to the White Sox cold bats, Sunday’s loss wrapped a series where they scored five runs total, and were a Chris Sale violin solo from being swept by the Rays.
1. Jose Quintana had a down start. Every now and then pounding his fastball at low-90s isn’t paired with invincible command, and when he can’t get his breaking stuff over, as was the case when he was giving up three-straight ropes to Logan Forsythe, Brandon Guyer and Evan Longoria to start a rough third inning in which the Rays staked themselves to a 3-1 lead.
The good news is that he stabilized, settled down and still delivered six innings with only the three runs allowed, and saved his ERA because only two of those were earned.
The bad news is that run was unearned because Quintana himself picked up an error when his foot missed the bag on what would have been an inning-ending groundout to first.
And then that was the difference in the game.
2. Baseball fans will be happy to know that Matt Moore‘s arm and stuff look lively again, and he announced his return with authority Sunday by striking out seven in his first four innings of work, and 10 overall with a surprising absence of walks over six and a third strong innings.
White Sox fans were probably less happy to see a guy with below average control before Tommy John surgery blow through the lineup without much effort, only yielding runs on an Austin Jackson jamshot RBI single in the third, and a Avisail Garcia RBI knock up the middle when he ran out of gas in the seventh.
Overlaps between these two groups probably found themselves very torn.
3. The Sox 3-4-5 hitters went 0-for-11 with nine strikeouts on the day, which depending on your level of baseball expertise, it is either my duty to inform you this is actually very bad, or you do not need the explanation and just started emanating a deep guttural moan while gripping your knees and rocking back and forth upon reading the previous clause.
Todd Frazier, the one true offensive stud acquired in the offseason, is now 2-for-20 with nine strikeouts over his last five games. Jerry Sands got his second start of the year and batted fifth against a left-hander, and now he’s struck out in six of 10 trips to the plate. Got that one dinger, though.
4. On a positive note, Brett Lawrie continued his hot series, collecting two more hits and a run after hitting a ball to Jupiter on Saturday. He went 5-for-12 in Tampa with two runs and two RBI to put his season line to .303/.333/.435. Since the criteria for No. 2 hitters so far has been ‘smallish, fast guy who doesn’t feel like a natural middle-of-the-order hitter,’ maybe he’ll work his way up in the mix.
Zach Duke had his first very good outing of the year, striking out two–including a right-hander–over a perfect inning of work.
5. Dioner Navarro continued to sparkle with his defensive throws, picking off Logan Morrison at first to end Quintana’s jam in the third and gunning down Guyer trying to steal second in the eighth. Between his arm and the rave reviews he’s gotten for his receiving, he’d be claiming the primary catcher role as his own if he could ever get a hit.
Team Record: 8-4
Next game is Monday at 7:10pm CT vs. the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on CSN.
Lead Photo Credit: Kim Klement // USA Today Sports Images