All spring the talk from outside observers was about the Sox competing with the almighty Detroit Tigers.
Through 6 games I would say they are quite even. Sox won Saturday 3-2, but after losing the finale 3-1, each team has won three games.
Besides Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd has been the Sox most consistent pitcher. Floyd pitched another whale of a game on Saturday, allowing 2 earned runs in 7 innings. Over his past 21 inning, Floyd has allowed 4 earned runs. With Sale now out of the rotation, Floyd’s production is going to be that much more important. Sale, if you haven’t heard, is the teams new closer.
Sunday marked the 2012 debut of Dylan Axelrod, who took Chris Sale’s place in the rotation.
Axelrod got off to a rough start, surrendering a lead off home run to Austin Jackson. Axelrod’s start wasn’t awful, from a numbers standpoint–well one number wasn’t good.
He only gave up 6 hits, and 2 earned runs in just over 4 innings. With decent numbers like that you have to wonder why he didn’t pitch deeper into the game. However, he threw 99 pitches in that time, so Robin Ventura took him out. He had also just given up a double and a single, so that may have something to do with too.
With the pitch count, I’ll give Axelrod a B grade, but I think he’ll be better next time out when/if he gets the chance..
The Sox optioned Axelrod to Charlotte after the game, and recalled Eric Stults. The Sox need Stults as they play a doubleheader tomorrow at Cleveland.
The pitcher I’m starting to worry about is Hector Santiago. Santiago pitched the final 2 innings, allowing another home run. Santiago has pitched 10 innings, but allowed 5 home runs. His screwball has to be working for him to be successful. He’s fortunate to have Don Cooper as his pitching coach. I guarantee he’ll straighten him out.
The guy I don’t worry about is Addison Reed. The rookie setup man, who I think should be closing, picked up his first save of the year on Saturday. In 12 games, Reed has yet to allow a run, very reminiscent of Sergio Santos.
No one has to straighten out Adam Dunn. Dunn is on a home run tear, going yard for the 5th time in his past 7 games. He hit the game winning home run on Saturday, and came back on Sunday to hit another. He Sox an early 1-0 lead by hitting his 9th home run of the year, tying him for the American League lead, and only 3 back of Major League leader, Matt Kemp.
Did last year even happen?
A weird game on Sunday, as all the runs scored came via the home run. Matter of fact, 6 of the Sox 8 runs scored in the 3 games came by the long ball.
I thought the Sox might tie, or even win the game, but Gordon Beckham struck out with the bases loaded in the 9th inning. Jose Valverde kept going up the ladder, and Beckham couldn’t catch up.
Rough day for Beckham, who took a pitch off his wrist. It looked like he would have to leave the game, but fortunately he was able to keep playing.
Chicago is now 3 games back of Cleveland, but they can make that up and more when they begin a 4-game series starting tomorrow. Actually, the Sox can do quite a bit of Central Division damage as their next 9 games are against division opponents.