Sunday was another low-scoring affair, and another White Sox victory caps off a sweep of previously first-place Texas. 26,058 saw a Sox team suddenly providing an entertaining product.
1. Mat Latos has the finest dancing shoes in the American League. His ERA is now sitting at a healthy 0.74 on the young year. After giving up a massive solo shot in the first inning, Latos dealt with runners in scoring position in each of his last four innings, and got improbable inning-ending double plays from Prince Fielder, and turned one himself on a hot comebacker from Ryan Rua to end the fifth and sixth innings, the latter provoking a huge fist pump from Latos on his way back to the dugout. A good argument could have been made to pull him from either inning, since he wound up with a season-high 109 pitches, but instead he emerged spotless.
We’ve been wondering how real this flourish from Latos has been all month, but first three outings were dominance compared to Sunday. Latos made mistakes up in the zone frequently and advanced metrics will not love his two strikeouts and walks on the day. But he’s the fourth starter on this team, on a one-year deal. Latos is getting outs. That’s enough.
2. White Sox offense against Derek Holland was reduced to a series of weak flies in the early going. New everyday catcher Dioner Navarro‘s destruction of a 3-2 fastball out to left in the third inning tied the game at 1, but also ended a no-hit bid. He still seemed like he was cruising until he ran into the Melky Cabrera/Brett Lawrie duo in the bottom of the fifth. After Cabrera worked a leadoff walk, Lawrie boomed a double to the right-center wall, and both scored after a wild pitch and a Navarro sacrifice fly.
3. Sox relievers entered the day with a 1.60 ERA; best in all of baseball, and only added to their record with three shutout frames Sunday. Nate Jones pitched out of a minor jam in the eighth, David Robertson struck out the side after blowing a save Saturday, and even Zach Duke was smooth in a perfect inning of work. Relegated to LOOGY work early on, Duke has worked a full inning or more his last five times out and only been scored upon once.
4. The White Sox continue to thrive despite getting little from their offensive core. Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu went a combined 1-for-8, with Eaton stranding four, including an inning-ending double play to kill a bases loaded opportunity in the seventh. An Abreu double in the eighth provided some optimism that he is on his way out of his slump, and sparked an insurance run off a Lawrie RBI single, but the big man is still only at .183/.259/.338 on the year.
5. Texas right fielder Nomar Mazara might have the talent to play at this level for just a little bit. He got a 89 mph Latos fastball up in the zone in the first inning and hit it to the Adirondacks. It was estimated at 418 feet to right field but maybe that’s just the point where the stringers lost track of it.
Team Record: 13-6
Next game is Monday at Toronto at 6:07 p.m. CT on CSN
Lead Photo Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski // USA Today Sports Images