The White Sox kept tacking on incrementally throughout the game, such that a close pitcher’s duel gradually morphed into a laugher. James Shields of all people pitched six innings allowing only one run while striking out six and only walking two.
- Shields entered the game leading the majors in HR/9 allowed, surrendering over two per nine. The Rays as a team had somehow hit 213 on the year, or about the rate the 2000 White Sox did. The top four players in the Rays’ order tonight all have more than 20 homers on the year, two of which are over 30. So naturally, Shields pitched six innings and didn’t allow a single one.
- It was an emotional evening. The Rays hung a Jose Fernandez jersey in the dugout in his honor. In much less tragic news, Alexei Ramirez made his return to U.S. Cellular field and received a warm ovation. He acknowledged the cheers, doffing his batting helmet, in a lovely moment–a fan even had a “Miss U Alexei” sign prominently in the frame. I do miss Alexei, even if it seems as though he is rapidly nearing the end of his playing days.
- The White Sox grabbed an early lead when Jose Abreu followed Melky Cabrera‘s 40th double of the season with a single. Cabrera would come around to score on a sac fly by Justin Morneau. They added another run when Todd Frazier doubled, a shocking rarity for him this year, stole third, and came around on yet another sac fly, this one by Omar Narvaez. Leury Garcia scored after a leadoff single, when he came around on another single after advancing on ground outs. It was a night of run manufacturing. I prefer dingers…
- …which came in the 7th and 8th from Morneau and Carlos Sanchez, who has randomly started swinging for the fences with a modicum of success. I mean, by his standards, anyway.
- With an 0-for-5 night, Tim Anderson‘s OPS has dropped beneath .700. He hasn’t hit for power in some time, and one hopes this is simply the result of him running out of gas a bit at the end of the longest season he’s ever played in his life. And frankly, he has erased a lot of doubts about his ability to stick at shortstop–doubts which were well-founded–which eases the pressure on his bat tremendously.
- Speaking of which, the White Sox turned four double plays on the night, and Abreu cut down another would-be run at home. That goes a way toward explaining how the Rays only managed one run on nine hits and four walks.
- The White Sox only need to win six games in a row to make it to .500 at the end of the season for the first time since 2012.
Team Record: 75-81
Lead Image Credit: Denny Medley // USA Today Sports Images