His last time out, Royals starter Yordano Ventura gave up six runs over four and a third innings, allowed a home run to Ryan Flaherty, saw his ERA spike to 5.32 on the season, and got punched in the face.
1. Staring down a nine-game suspension related to that very bad night that is pending appeal, Ventura found time toss his first great game of the season, striking out 10 White Sox hitters Sunday compared to just six baserunners allowed over seven one-run innings. Only a fool would fail to note the improved location for a guy who sits very easily in the high-90s and flashes plus secondary pitches whenever his mind and body are right, and that ace-like performances are always stirring under the surface for Ventura.
2. But, given that the Sox needed 26 outs before they could scratch out a tally against Danny Duffy & Co. Saturday, and have slid under four runs per game for the season, having Ventura’s sudden breakout take place on their home field is not something for which they are granted the benefit of the doubt.
Jose Abreu turning on a 98 mph center-cut fastball and blasting a solo shot way out to dead center in the sixth was the only run for the Sox Sunday, but at least it was an extremely encouraging single appearance for Sox hitting. He’s up to .260/.315/.415 on the season, which is a horrific disappointment for him, but at least it’s something playable.
Tim Anderson, for whom growing pains are to be expected, is hitless since his Friday night debut, and Justin Morneau is not on the 25-man roster yet, and thus unable to assist and offense in need of help.
3. Carlos Rodon struggled with command early for the umpteenth time this season, and was treated for it with the frequently overprescribed remedy of heavy doses of Royals singles. Kendrys Morales sprayed a two-out single to right-center to drive home Whit Merrifield in the first inning, and Merrifield came up again in the second and scooped a low slider through the five-six hole in the second to score another.
Rodon was saved from further damage by Alex Avila throwing out two potential base thieves in the first two innings, and erasing Lorenzo Cain in the third when he took the step of following through on a throw into Morales, who had just struck out, generating the interference call Avila was denied weeks ago.
4. Despite the early static, Rodon stabilized for six innings, set himself up to break out his nightmare slider a bit more near the close of his day, and did not allow another run and struck out seven compared to two walks. He now has seven quality starts in 12 outings on the year, and has a 2.54 ERA against the Royals in three starts, one of which the Sox actually won.
5. With the loss, the White Sox are back in fourth place in the AL Central–though they do look to be safe from Minnesota–and have a lost an almost unimaginable nine out of their last 10 series.
Team Record: 31-32
Next game is Monday vs. Detroit at 7:10pm CT on WPWR
Lead Image Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski // USA Today Sports Images