White Sox 9, Twins 6: James Shields Didn’t Get Murdered

Rumors of James Shields’ demise may have been exaggerated. Building upon the “best” start with his new team in Boston last week, the seemingly hopeless right-hander provided some hope that all is not lost. Pitching over a home run by the first batter he faced, Shields steadied the ship and the offense chipped in to do their part, leading the Sox to a 9-6 victory over the Twins.

1. A good short-term goal coming into this game for James Shields would have been to record an out beyond the fifth inning. He had yet to do that in White Sox uniform coming into Wednesday night but finally managed the modest achievement by going six and two-thirds innings. He notched a couple of 1-2-3 innings and remained scoreless outside of the Eduardo Nunez leadoff home run, but that lack of runs didn’t come without assistance. In the third, the combination of a double play and a two-out bunt attempt by Brian Dozier saved him. In the fifth, Adam Eaton was unable to catch a Nunez fly to the wall but made a solid throw to nail Kurt Suzuki by a wide margin as he attempted to score from first. It’s going to take a lot of reasonable starts to undo the damage done in his first few outings, but seeing a James Shields that doesn’t look completely broken is nice.

2. Everybody in the starting lineup managed to get a hit Wednesday night. Brett Lawrie continued his torrid hitting – he came into the game with a 1.375 OPS on the homestand – kicking off the Sox scoring with a home run to right center in the second. More solo home runs were to be had, one each for Tyler Saladino and Todd Frazier, making it 13-straight solo shots for the Sox. Saladino added a RBI single to his night joining together with Tim Anderson to create multi-hit bookends to the lineup.

Evidence of advance scouting was on display in the 2nd inning. Poor defensive arms were exploited by J.B. Shuck, first stealing second easily on Suzuki, and then coming around to score on an Avisail Garcia single to left field on what would have been considered a terrible send if not for Robbie Grossman’s more terrible throw. Grossman’s arm is such that Dioner Navarro was able to truck it home from second on a single later in the game without even garnering an attempt at a putout.

3. The White Sox bullpen, perhaps expecting a long evening before the game, likely thought they had found some unexpected rest with the Sox leading the Twins by seven runs before even being called upon. Matt Albers made a short appearance, Michael Ynoa threw a scoreless eighth. And then came the 9th. Matt Purke, pitching without pressure, was unable to record an out before being yanked in favor of Dan Jennings. Jennings pitched well enough to end the game without damage however the final two would-be outs were blown on a Lawrie error, who pitched a feed to second too wide for Anderson, blowing up a sure double play. The gaffe cost runs and made things far too interesting. It took two base hits, an RBI ground out, a hit-by-pitch, a walk before Jennings was pulled. Nate Jones was brought on to stop the bleeding, but after the bullpen was unfortunately taxed, and an already tired fan base needlessly worried.

4. To live in a world in which Melky Cabrera’s absence on the defensive end could cause angina is not ideal, but here we are. Despite his absence, the Sox did manage to survive on both sides of the ball. Avisail in the outfield didn’t appear to cost the team anything in the way of runs on this particular night, but with Shuck currently handling full-time center field duties, this is not a setup the Sox want to press their luck on for longer than they need to. Get well, Melky.

5. Tim Anderson saw six pitches in his first two at-bats to strike out twice. He took the second pitch he saw in the fifth to left field for his sixth double of the year. Once the bullpen took over he was able to work a deep at-bat for a single and earn himself an RBI off of Michael Tonkin. Anderson’s day-to-day comes pretty much as advertised. Displays of excellent ability mixed in with a rough approach and unattractive strikeout-to-walk ratio. The net result of which can most certainly be considered a positive, and he’s quickly become a joy to watch and a main focal point of the nightly viewing.


Team Record: 39-39


Next game is Thursday at 1:10pm CT vs. Minnesota on WGN.

Lead Photo Credit: Matt Marton – USA Today Sports Images

Related Articles

Leave a comment

Use your Baseball Prospectus username