The Chicago White Sox fell to the Minnesota Twins 5-3 Sunday afternoon. This loss was their third in a row and gives them sole possession of last place in the AL Central.
Despite losing his first three starts, Gavin Floyd seemed to finally find his groove against the Twins. He only gave up three hits over six innings with the only earned run coming off a bases loaded walk. Sadly, the Sox did not break from the norm and failed to give Floyd any supporting runs. Fellow starter Jake Peavy knows exactly what this is like since he threw seven innings of one-run ball during Saturday’s game and also received a no-decision. At the time of Floyd’s departure, the game was tied 1-1.
In the bottom of the sixth frame, the Sox took the lead from a sac-fly by Keppinger. Unfortunately the Twins blew the game wide open in the seventh. Now when your offense struggles to score more than two runs a game, it is imperative that you don’t give any free passes. The bullpen could not execute on this obvious statement today.
Lindstrom began the seventh by walking Trevor Plouffe. After giving up a game-tying single, Donnie Veal was brought in. He promptly walked Joe Mauer to load the bases. At this point, Robin Ventura went to the usually reliable Jesse Crain. Upon his arrival, Crain gave up the bases clearing double that would inevitably lead to the Sox loss.
Now usually the bullpen for the Sox has been nothing less than stellar. Their collective ERA has been 1.63 this season with only a .177 average against. Both of these statistics were enough to lead the American League in both categories going into Sunday’s game. Hopefully Sunday’s performance was just a fluke, a blemish on an otherwise very consistent bullpen.
While this loss against the Twins can be blamed (somewhat) on the pen, the real issue with the White Sox over these first 18 games is the offense. They’ve only managed five runs in the last three games and are one of the worst teams in all baseball with RISP. Even the bright spot of having Adam Dunn hit his third home run today was marred by his horrible season. Dunn’s big swing in the seventh broke his 0-31 streak, which is a career worst. His average now sits at a lowly .108. Dunn needs to get his act together if the Sox want to have a competitive middle lineup. Alex Rios and Paul Konerko are doing their jobs for the most part and Dunn is key if the Sox want to stay relevant in the AL Central.
Facing off tomorrow against the Cleveland Indians, the Sox have seven more games on this home stand. U.S. Cellular Field is definitely a hitter’s ballpark, so now would be the time for the bats to wake up. The Detroit Tigers haven’t exactly exploded out of the gate, but they’re a team that knows how to surge. The Sox run the risk of being buried early in this season if they can’t string together a few wins during the next few series.