When the Twins announced they were giving left-hander Logan Darnell on Saturday against the White Sox's Chris Sale, one could reasonably assume they were essentially doing the real-life equivalent of pressing the "sim game" button on this one.
But the games are played for a reason, and Saturday night's showdown went, well, about as one would've expected as Sale and the Sox cruised to a 7-0 victory, their third straight in the Twin Cities.
Leaving aside the obvious gripes that come with a Robin Ventura-managed game — leaving Sale in for 112 pitches despite a 7-0 lead or hitting the increasingly unplayable Dayan Viciedo cleanup — Saturday's win followed in line with the victories on Thursday or Friday in that the White Sox had little trouble with Twins pitching and Minnesota's offense showed few signs of life.
Some notes from the victory:
- Sale struck out 12 in eight innings of work, allowing five hits and two walks. His ERA is down to 1.88, which edges him ahead of Felix Hernandez for the American League lead. One would have to assume the Cy Young race is between those two at the moment, with Hernandez likely holding the edge as he's thrown 48.1 more innings.
- It's hard to imagine Tyler Flowers' new glasses suddenly turned him into an unstoppable force, but nonetheless the constant disappointment is on a tear right now. He followed up Friday's monstrous home run with a 2-for-4, 2 RBI night (and also just missed another homer in his final at-bat).
- A day after pounding out 17 hits, the White Sox put up 14 more against Darnell & Co., giving them 31 over the past two games and 42 over the course of the three straight victories. The aforementioned Viciedo was the only starter to fail to register a hit on Saturday. Even Paul Konerko got into the act with two hits.
- Jose Abreu didn't homer, but he did extend his hitting streak to 16 games with a line drive single off Glen Perkins' buttocks in the ninth inning.
- Alexei Ramirez went 2-for-5 with a home run off the left field foul pole and is now 10-for-30 over his last seven games after getting off to a terrible start to the month of July.
- We're now fewer than five days from the trading deadline and the rumor mill regarding White Sox hitters has quieted down. Nick discussed the markets for Adam Dunn and John Danks on Saturday, but while the Sox's other possible trade chips — Dayan Viciedo, Gordon Beckham — aren't exactly mashing to ball at the moment, one should probably assume that game-to-game performance doesn't matter as much right now. Teams have had these players scouted for a while. Fit and health are the things to be most concerned with right now. So, hey, at least the White Sox have that going for them.
- The White Sox will look for the four-game sweep on Sunday when Scott Carroll opposes Yohan Pino.
Team Record: 51-54
Next game is Sunday at 1:10pm CT on CSN at Minnesota.
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