This is one of those games that a rebuilding team can manage to enjoy even though the result was a loss. By far the most important thing is that Avisail Garcia returned from the DL, and in fact went 2/4 on the night. Far less important is the return of Matt Lindstrom's return from the DL. Unfortunately, he was knocked around - but there's a silver lining here as well.
Heading into 2014, Avisail's development was at or near the top of the list of organizational goals. As we all know that was severely jeopardized when, on April 8th, the 23-year old right fielder dove for a line drive and injured his shoulder. Last night he came back several months ahead of schedule and looked good at the plate. In his first at bat, he worked a 2-0 count and then lined an 85-mph Mark Buehrle fastball to opposite field for a double. Well, he stood staring at it for a second or two - I think because he wasn't sure if it would be fair or foul - and then started booking it to make up for lost time. An accurate throw probably gets him, but the result was a double.
There is a cascade of positive effects from Avisail's presence. First, he gets an extra six weeks of development time in the majors - time to knock off rust and get back on the trajectory of being a solid regular. It also pushes the lineup back toward its original plan, where guys like Paul Konerko and Dayan Viciedo can be used more selectively depending on the handedness of the opposing pitcher.
- Matt Lindstrom came back today as well, after being shelved for several months with an ankle injury. He gave up four hits and three runs in his one inning of work, but he didn't walk anyone and his fastball velocity was 93-94 mph which is about where he works normally. Lindstrom was thrown straight into the fire, where even a 1-2-3 inning would have meant facing Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera. It was not a 1-2-3 inning so he wound up going against Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista as well. Lindstrom started the inning leaving his pitches up which is bad and there were bad results. As it wore on, his got his pitches lower and lower. Although Bautista managed to bounce a grounder through the infield, Lindstrom actually didn't pitch that badly aside from two pitches to Melky and Reyes, and pretty much the whole Kawasaki at bat. Most importantly, Lindstrom may actually cobble together some effective outings in time to make himself desirable in a trade prior to the August 31st waiver trade deadline. It's a long shot and won't bring back much, but it could be something.
- Miraculously, Ronald Belisario threw a 1-2-3 inning. He's had stretches of effectiveness, but when he's off he allows more baserunners than he gets outs. I don't really know what to make of him at this point, but I suppose being out of playoff contention allows you to keep running him out there in the hopes that he gives you some sort of indication one way or the other for next year.
- John Danks managed to cobble together a Quality Start despite striking out zero batters. The Crafty Lefty metamorphosis continues.
eam Record: 58-64
Next game is on Sunday (today!) at 1:10pm CST on WGN. It is also the MLB.TV free game of the day.
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