After winning the first two games of a three-game set against the Kansas City Royals, the Chicago White Sox and their offense fell flat against Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie. Given the fact that the team’s pitching staff is in a period of transition right now, they really can’t afford to waste quality starts like the one by Jose Quintana this evening.
Quintana went 7.1 innings and gave up three runs on eight hits while walking just one. By all accounts, that’s the kind of performance that puts a team in a strong position to win. The final two runs allowed by Quintana came in the bottom of the eighth inning, after reliever Jake Petricka came into the ballgame and gave up a sacrifice fly and a walk to allow two inherited runners to score. But the pitching wasn’t the problem.
Based on their overall performance this season, the White Sox’s offense is more than capable of launching a late comeback, especially against the Royals, a team that now has a 6-15 record this season against the other teams in its division. The White Sox rank third in baseball with 234 runs scored and first in runs scored in the ninth inning, with 38. Tonight, the White Sox fanned four times at the hands of Royals pitching while managing just four hits, and generally looked tired and weak at the plate.
Sweeping the Royals also could have been huge for the White Sox because of other simultaneous action going on around the AL Central. Cellar dwellers, the Cleveland Indians, just completed a shocking three-game sweep of division leader Detroit Tigers. The White Sox are now just half a game ahead of the Tribe, and will close out May with two tough series against the New York Yankees, who currently sit tied atop the AL East, and the Indians themselves. There is some upside on the horizon, however. Ace Chris Sale, who has been out for more than a month, will finally make his long-awaited return from the DL tomorrow when the White Sox host the Yankees.