With the 2013 All-Star Ballot just released, Alex Rios showed why he deserves consideration once again. Rios’ two run homer in the fifth inning gave the Chicago White Sox the runs they needed to secure the victory.
The blast ended Rios’ 0-13 streak and brought his RBI total to 11. While it is still early, us Sox fans can only say that for so long. Even though this was just the 20th game of the season, this win against the Indians was a big one. It snapped yet another four-game losing streak and put the Sox in a good mindset entering this weekend series against the Rays.
While not absolutely dominant, Jose Quintana continued to impress on the mound. The young pitcher gave up two runs over five innings. The runs snapped his 18 2/3 inning scoreless streak which was the longest of his short career. After retiring the first nine batters, Quintana managed to get out of some trouble in the fourth.
With bases loaded and just one out, Ryan Rayburn hit a soft grounder to Alexei Ramirez who then turned a textbook 6-4-3 double play. It is key pitches in moments like this that really show the promise that Quintana has and the value he can be to the Sox in the future.
Ventura pulled Quintana in the sixth after he let up two hits and recorded no outs. Luckily, the Sox bullpen came through again. After one inherited runner scored on a sac-fly, Nate Jones shut down the Indians for two solid innings of relief. The combination of Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton, and Addison Reed followed suit, bringing the Sox the 3-2 victory.
As talented as the White Sox bullpen has proven itself to be, it’s a shame that they’re so often in these high pressure scenarios. The Sox offense just isn’t producing enough runs and as a result, fans and players alike are usually sweating the final three innings of every game. The Sox continue to be last in the American League with a very low .163 average with runners in scoring position. Wednesday’s game was no exception as they left seven men on base, only going 1-8 with RISP.
All that we can hope for is that players that aren’t producing start to step up and pick up the slack. Apparently Jeff Keppinger got this message. Although his numbers haven’t been that impressive, the new addition picked up his second two-hit game in a row. It was his first-inning single that put the Sox on the board first. Later in the game, his two-out single to right enabled Rios to have his timely home run.
While there are good things to take away from this victory, it’s a shame to see the Sox still struggling with men on base. Adam Dunn did manage to walk three times, so hopefully he is being more selective and will start to be more effective. Other than that, the Sox still have much room to improve. Hopefully they can take three of four against the Rays this weekend.