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WSI News - Totally Biased Game Recaps

Second Place is Poor Salesmanship

July 21st vs. the Detroit Tigers


Today's Sox Crew:
Hole Diggers
The White Sox continued digging the hole they seem to think they need. Somebody tell the foreman that the hole is deep enough.

Short Take:Chris Sale gave up five runs while the comatose offense looked slackjawed as the Tigers took over first place in the Central, beating the Sox 7-1 in Detroit.

The 2012 White Sox have occupied first place in the American League Cental Division for 54 days. They did that despite having a new coaching staff led by a fan favorite who had never managed at any level, despite a roster populated heavily by rookies, and despite a series of injuries to key members of the pitching staff. At the beginning of the season no one who wanted to be taken seriously would have predicted that level of success.

I write all that to brace myself for this statement: the Detroit Tigers took over possession of first place by beating the White Sox 7-1 in Detroit. That's painful to write, but given the Sox' streaky nature this year we shouldn't be surprised. This is now four losses in a row at the same time the Tigers are clawing their opponents.

There are still 68 games to go in the 2012 campaign and, reaching into my copious bag of baseball clichés, there's a lot of baseball left to play. But it's tough to watch Sox hitters monotonously hitting weak grounders and feeble popups in this current streak of low run production and expect them to survive into October.

Remember though that October is three months away and it's a long season. So let's put away the cliché bag and talk about this game. The Sox scored their one run in the top of the fifth when Alex Rios scored on an RBI single by Dayan Viciedo. And that was it for the Sox offense, which couldn't solve the riddle of Tiger starter Rick Porcello.

Chris Sale, that left-handed, limb-flinging phenom, started the game and gave Sox fans comfort that the best team was on the field. And Sale did what Sale does best, throwing strikes and setting the game's pace until the Tigers began finding pitches they could hit. Sale gave up five earned runs in seven innings of work and walked four, which is not his style at all.

His un-Salesmanlike performance might be traceable to a freak hit in the second inning: Jhonny Peralta hit a soft bouncer to the first-base side of the mound and Sale reflexively reached for it with his bare left hand, knocking it down but not in time to throw out Peralta. Though he struck out the next hitter to end the inning, he walked the first two Tigers in the third. Thinking that Sale's pitching hand was affected by the previous inning's grounder, trainer Herm Schneider and manager Robin Ventura came out to check. Sale stayed in and pitched well.

But maybe not as well as we've come to expect. In the fifth after two outs, Sale gave up singles to Gerald Laird and Danny Worth. Austin Jackson then doubled them both home to give Detroit a 2-1 lead. In the next inning Sale gave up a three-run homer to Brennan Boesch after allowing a single to Miguel Cabrera and walking Peralta. Now it's 5-1 for the big cats, bringing the Sox' weak hitting into sharp relief.

Was Sale's hand compromised, making his stuff less effective? Maybe -- but we can argue that if the offense wasn't in total eclipse it might not have mattered.

Dylan Alexrod came in to pitch the eighth and gave up two more runs on a bases-loaded single to Jackson. 7-1, and there it would stay.

Now, if the Sox win Sunday's game in Michigan they'll regain the Central's highest perch. Maybe it's not realistic to think they can hold it for another 54 days, but all that matters is that they're holding it at the end of the day on October 3rd. At the risk of not being taken seriously, that's probably safe to say.

WSI's
KW Appreciates The Game:
"I really appreciated first place. I'll appreciate it more when we get it back!"


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Totally Biased Game Recaps

September 20... 2014 Is Mercifully Winding Down

September 17... Sale Hit Hard

September 14... Sunday Afternoon Dud

September 13... Like One Win? Here, Have Two

September 10... Becoming Spoilers

September 7...Shut Out and Swept

September 6... September Swooning

September 3... Not Worth Remembering

August 31...Tigers Fumble, Punt Game to White Sox

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