Two bad teams completely out of playoff contention met in a game Friday night, and it was apparent. The Twins came in having lost 13 of their last 14 games (their only win coming last night in the series opener), while the Sox went into the game with a four-game losing streak of their own. As far as pitching, the Twins were throwing out Kyle Gibson, who has had his fair share of miraculous success against the White Sox offense amid a mediocre career.
On the mound for the White Sox was Carlos Rodon, who had a fantastic August where he went 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in five starts. During those five outings he walked just seven batters while striking out 26.
Prepared for an odd pitcher’s duel between two starters that haven’t had spectacular seasons, I settled in to watch the game. What we got was certainly odd, but it was no pitcher’s duel.
1. Rodon was ultra-efficient, going seven innings while only using 79 pitches. A huge struggle for for him this season has been the number of pitches he uses to get outs, as he racks up a large number of both strikeouts and walks. Instead, Rodon only struck out five and walked just one Friday night, though he hit two batters in the first two innings. Despite a large number of baserunners, he was able to go seven quick innings while giving up three earned runs. Not quite the start that we grew accustomed to seeing from him in August, but still highly effective.
2. The Sox offense managed to touch up a pitcher who had been giving them fits in the past. In two starts this season against the White Sox before Friday, Gibson had only given up a single run while striking out 10 and walking four. Rather than stick to the status quo, Sox hitting awakened to force Gibson out of the game after 5.2 innings and five earned runs. Gibson did manage to strikeout asix, including Avisail Garcia three different times.
3. Jose Abreu stayed hot with a three hit-night while driving in three runs. In August Abreu hit .362/.414/.648 in 116 PAs with a .286 ISO. During the month of August, Abreu hit eight home runs, raising his season total from 11 to 19 in a single month. So far, he has continued his hot streak into September.
4. Speaking of hot, Todd Frazier has homered three times in the last four games. Friday, he hit home run No. 35 on the season, a two-run shot in the fourth, which allowed him to pass Robin Ventura for most by a White Sox third baseman in a single season.
5. In a game that bounced back and forth as the Sox worked their way back from a third inning three-run blast by Brian Dozier, the White Sox bullpen stepped up in the last two innings to finish out the win. Nate Jones entered in the game in the eighth when the score was still 8-4 White Sox and pitched a perfect frame. Michael Ynoa pitched the ninth after the Sox had tacked on another three runs, and left unscathed despite giving up a leadoff single.
Team Record: 64-70
Next game is Saturday at 6:10pm CT at Minnesota on CSN
Lead Image Credit: Jeffrey Becker//USA Today Sports Images