I must admit, I took a little vacation along with the rest of Major League Baseball during this past week. During that break, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter played in his final All-Star Game, as the American League defeated the National League, 5-3, in the 85th MLB All-Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Three White Sox players represented the Good Guys in Minnesota. Alexei Ramirez and Jose Abreu were voted in during the initial voting for the American League. Both finished second in the voting at their respective positions.
For Chris Sale to join Ramirez and Abreu in the Midsummer Classic, fans had to vote Sale in during the four-day Final Vote period for both leagues. Chicago swept the voting as Sale and Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo were voted in by fans to take the final roster spots.
All 30 MLB teams had Wednesday and Thursday off, which was seen as a blessing for White Sox fans. The Sox lost four of their final five games heading into the break and sat at 45-51, six games under. 500.
(June 11th was the last time the Sox sat at .500 or better.)
Here’s a positive thought for White Sox fans: The three-day break for the club was beneficial. The Sox took two of their first three games in the second half of the year this past weekend at home against the Houston Astros.
On Friday and Saturday, the White Sox won a pair of one-run games, 3-2 and 4-3, before losing a wild one on Sunday afternoon in the series finale, 11-7.
Friday night was one of the most complete pitching performances from the White Sox staff all season long. Jose Quintana was pulled after five innings of work. Quintana gave up two earned runs on three hits, walked two and struck out eight on 106 pitches (71 strikes).
That wasn’t the most impressive line of the night.
Yeah, you read that line right.
Saturday night was “The Tyler Flowers Show”. In three at-bats, Flowers went 3-for-3 with the go-ahead RBI double in the fifth inning. Flowers also “drove in” another when he was hit by a pitch in the third inning.
The wheels fell off for the Sox in the finale on Sunday. (Of course, it was the game I personally attended.)
Although the Astros committed three errors defensively that led to four of the seven White Sox runs, they piled 17 hits on White Sox pitching, including 12 off starter John Danks.
Danks struggled early and often against the Astros, going only 4 1/3 innings, giving up seven earned runs on 12 hits and striking out four on 78 pitches (55 strikes).
The Good Guys move on to a three-game home series with the Kansas City Royals, starting on Monday night. Chris Sale will take the mound for the Sox. Sale gave up his first career All-Star Game run last Tuesday on a Jonathan Lucroy double in the fourth inning. Kansas City will send White Sox tormentor Jeremy Guthrie to the hill. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 CT.
White Sox Notes: