Important stuff from a fun-enough 7-5 rubber match win over Toronto

There's an identity that we want to understand the 2014 White Sox under, in which Sunday's 7-5 triumph in the rubber match against a desperate and hungry Blue Jays team fits perfectly. The White Sox flashed dizzying, game-changing offensive potential, had their lack of pitching depth exposed by both starter and reliever performance, and did just enough to keep the watching fun and not sort of tragic. Six games under .500, obviously the prototypical 2014 White Sox game would seem to be a loss, and their offense's season performance does not live up to the ideals their juggernaut April inspired, but the Sox have had less than 10 games where their young offensive core of Adam Eaton, Jose Abreu, Avisail Garcia, and yeah, Conor Gillaspie have been operating at once. They didn't build on that total Sunday, but a seven-run outburst stoked its legend all the same.

Box Score

  • Conor Gillaspie is now hitting .311/.363/.456 for the season after a day where he went 1-3 with a walk and a first inning grand slam. A first inning, two-out, two-strike grand slam, the first RBIs of a six-run inning that would have gone scoreless if he didn't deliver. I have a million thoughts and examinations I could run on Gillaspie's season but don't want to, because I don't want to pick apart its brilliance and find something unsustainable. He got himself out to such a tremendous start and has worked beautifully to not let his good work rot away. Let's leave it at this: there's so much value these days in Gillaspie's ability to put the ball in play. Despite him getting off the home run schneid finally, it's shocking how small of a role it plays in his game. He has just five bombs this season, yet has a higher slugging percentage than Adam Dunn.
  • Avisail Garcia is healthy, maybe too healthy. He went 1-3 with a double and a walk, and his double was a line-shot into right-center that he attempted to stretch to three bases with maximum foolhardiness. At least, as Jim Margalus pointed out, he slid feet-first. So far, Garcia's plate approach is in a place we could be happy with given the circumstances, which is to say it's about where he came into Spring camp with. He's swinging liberally and is comfortable going to right field. He's strong enough to hit some balls out that way, but is not going to be a big power threat if it's the only way he can do it.
  •  Jose Abreu went 1-4 Sunday with a single and no strikeouts. His slugging percentage dipped below .600 for the first time since June 22. He has not homered in August.  It's not some attack on his personhood to acknowledge he's in a power lull. He has said it has happened before and I certainly believe pretty much anything he says about his performance at this point. Abreu has also had a .407 OBP this month and is striking out in fewer than one out of every six plate appearances. Relying on my eyes and not a deep culling of the data just yet, I would say part of this is the league approach of Abreu becoming FAR more cautious, and that a shortened up approach is more beneficial to what he's being given to work with at this time.
  • Scott Carroll: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, HR. Someone had to eat these late-August 2014 White Sox innings and you're a hero for it, Scott Carroll.
  • Petricka as a useful late-inning reliever is a believable concept, but a darned strikeout would have been nice to see after he walked his way through the Bautista-Encarnacion gauntlet and loaded the bases before escaping with his ninth save of the year.

Team Record: 59-65

Next game is Chris Sale Day, Monday at 7:10pm CT on CSN vs. Baltimore.

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