No one is interested in individual game notes from the fourth of the last game of the season, but they might offer the most room for analysis, since there's an entire season of results we mostly trust to place as the immediate backdrop. Jose Abreu didn't look very good Thursday night, in stark contrast to how he's looked ALL SEASON.
See how informative that is?
--Jose Quintana now has the longest run of consecutive 200-inning seasons on the team with two. Individual benchmarks in a lost season, especially ones marking a large workload, are typically for the birds, but Quintana's new identity as a workhorse is especially cool. He spent 2012 being waited on to reveal himself as a fluke, but now is one of the most reliable sources of value the Sox have. Bemoaning Quintana's lack of absolutely superfluous "results" is so silly at this point. He's healthy, locked up, and so clearly a better and more complete pitcher than even the guy in his superb 2013 campaign.
That said, he didn't look particularly great at any point Thursday. His command was off, the Royals were drilling his fastball as he split the plate with it, and the nine hits he had through seven innings were not a fluke. He was not a good bet to continue limiting damage. We would hope, of course, that he was not left in for some misguided attempt to score him a W, but it's hard to be sure. Mike Scioscia said "“I think managers tend to get a lot smarter when you have a (strong) bullpen,” and it's hard to imagine that Robin Ventura isn't being affected in the reverse, since he has to account for even the most logical pulls of starters blowing up in his face.
--Speaking of which, Jake Petricka getting closer experience this year should not be given too much weight in determining just how many high-leverage responsibilities he'll earn next season. Thursday night's back-breaking failure to turn an eighth inning double play was a fluke but also wasn't one. Petricka provides some assurance that he can get a groundball in a runners-on-the-corners situation, but a strikeout followed by a flyout is just as viable, and relies less on often lax defensive execution. Petricka has allowed an abysmal 41% of inherited runners to score, unsurprisingly as he lets the ball in play too much to clean up the messes of others. Putnam has been fantastic with a similar approach, but logic says both would be better off with clean innings to work.
--Marcus Semien has had a very encouraging month of September at the plate, hitting .286/.344/.482 with a reasonable 10 strikeouts in 63 plate appearances, but is going to put himself on the fringes with an organization that is still super sensitive about changing its identity from the error-prone bunglers of 2013. Semien's short-armed throw Thursday night didn't even count toward his whopping 14 errors in just 61 games.
The man needs a full-time position. His career prospects have mostly benefited from being willing to go anywhere, but if we're really vested in seeing more steadiness, it's not fair to expect it while bouncing him all over.