Despite the Cubs’ bats being asleep for the better part of this season, they certainly woke up Monday against the Chicago White Sox as they crushed the hometown team 12-3.
In an effort to preserve the young Chris Sale’s arm, reliever Zach Stewart started today in his place. And what a mistake that turned out to be. Stewart, who didn’t necessarily have great stats coming into this game, gave up six earned runs in 5.2 innings. He also allowed four long balls. Robin Ventura should reevaluate Stewart’s standing with the team following this dismal performance. He has given up an astounding ten home runs in thirty innings pitched. Compare that to Sale’s four home runs allowed in 90 innings pitched and Stewart’s stats get even more depressing.
Fellow reliever Nate Jones had an equally hard time against the powerful Cubs offense. He gave up four earned runs in the seventh inning, all without recording an out. The Cubs’ five home runs set a season record for the club. Four players in their lineup had more than one RBI and the rest didn’t have a problem hitting the ball either. David DeJesus was the only player to not manage a hit off of the struggling Sox pitching.
On the offensive side of things, A.J. Pierzynski and Paul Konerko each showed up to work, but what else is new? Pierzynski hit a solo home run in the fifth inning and Konerko drove his two-run shot into deep center in the sixth. Those three runs would be all the Sox would manage as the Cubs’ pitching limited them to only six hits. On the bright side, both Pierzynski and Konerko should be destined for an All-Star game appearance after starting the 2012 season very strong.
Was it a mistake to start Zach Stewart? It certainly seemed to be from my perspective. I understand that Ventura doesn’t want Sale going the way of Stephen Strasberg, but there had to have been a better way to approach this situation. Maybe start Jesse Crain and switch him out after three innings. Or perhaps start Sale anyways and make sure he doesn’t go longer than five innings or sixty pitches. They even could have moved Jake Peavy up a day in the rotation, effectively skipping Sale. The man is a workhorse anyways. In hindsight, only one thing is for certain and it is that Stewart should not be starting (or in my opinion, pitching) anytime soon.
The Sox will look to redeem themselves Tuesday in game two of the series.