For the second day in a row, Robin Ventura used one of his catchers as the DH and won anyway. The White Sox are now 6-18 against Cleveland, Kansas City, and Detroit and 36-22 against everyone else.
1. Jose Quintana got off to a rough start, allowing a solo shot to George Springer in the first Astros at bat of the game. Fortunately, he would only allow three baserunners after that, over the course of seven brilliant innings. Quintana was efficient and induced a lot of weak contact in the air–although as the game progressed there were a few deep drives to center and right, but they hung up for J.B. Shuck and Adam Eaton to corral.
Quintana got his first win since May 8th.
2. The offense looked quite competent collectively, tallying nine hits and drawing four walks on the day, even in the face of solid work from Collin McHugh. McHugh was missing bats and his curveball looked particularly effective. But between working walks and spoiling pitches, the White Sox drove him out of the game shy of six innings. Tim Anderson crushed a double off the top of the wall in right field, and may have had a triple but for Shuck having to hold up in front of him.
It wasn’t a mistake on Shuck’s part, because Springer nearly caught Anderson’s blast anyway (and briefly appeared to injure himself in the process).
Anderson had his at-bats where he looked overmatched–Luke Gregerson threw him three nasty sliders that he clearly couldn’t handle–but he also absolutely scalded another two hits today.
3. Drama cropped up somewhat surprisingly late in the game, as Jose Abreu took a 94 mph fastball off of the tricep on an 0-1 count. Leading off the top of the 7th, Quintana quickly got two outs before throwing twice way inside to Evan Gattis. Gattis took exception and the home plate umpire immediately issued a warning to both dugouts.
An instant later, Houston manager A.J. Hinch charged out onto the field and was ejected before he could get within ten feet of Ryan Blakney. To add injury to insult, Quintana would then rally from down 3-0 to strike out Gattis and end the inning.
As I was actually in attendance today I was able to hear the Astros fans booing–and hissing. Like, the way crowds would hiss at mustache-twirling villains in 1920s vaudeville acts.
Nate Jones was absolutely dominant, striking out the first two batters he faced on six pitches as part of a clean 1-2-3 eighth, and although Robertson allowed the tying run to come to the plate in the hulking form of A.J. Reed, he gave the rookie nothing to hit and maintained a scoreless ninth.
5. J.B. Shuck and Avisail Garcia–brothers in tragedy–continue to trade leads in OPS. After today’s game, Garcia has a .001 edge over Shuck with a .661 mark, but if they’re going to be equals at the plate, Shuck is clearly the more valuable player as he can actually play serviceable defense in the majors.
Even so, the White Sox managed to take two out of three from a quality Astros team without arguably their best hitter. Now only two games out of the Wild Card, the White Sox have six games against the Yankees and Braves before the All-Star Break to keep making up ground.
Team Record: 42-40
Next game is Monday vs. New York at 1:10pm CT
Lead Image Credit: Troy Taormina // USA Today Sports Images