After Adam LaRoche read the riot act on the White Sox offense Sunday, calling their performance "embarrassing" and acknowledging that they had been making "good pitchers look great," the White Sox squared off with the Blue Jays and....really showed everyone what he was talking about.
Scuffling Jays Drew Hutchinson, who entered the game with a 6.06 ERA and one start over seven innings on the season, made mincemeat of a willing and unable Sox offense for the second complete game shutout of his young career, in just 96 pitches. Hutchinson has a live arm and can earn some swings and misses with his breaking stuff, but made plenty of mistakes in the zone that no one in the Sox lineup is in a place where they can square it up at this point. Gordon Beckham singled in the first inning, and advanced to second on the groundout before he was stranded.
That was as far as anyone got, which is pretty much the only part of the story that matters.
- Hector Noesi and Alexei Ramirez played a compelling game of 'Who's to blame?' in a four-run first inning for the Blue Jays. Noesi, fresh off a long period of demotion-related inactivity, hit 96 mph but left the ball up frequently as he overthrew the ball wildly. He followed up a leadoff double to Jose Reyes with a walk to Josh Donaldson, then seemed to find a spot of luck when a laser from Edwin Encarnacion was hit right to Alexei Ramirez. Alexei started an awful night by somehow botching a double play by missing the bag in a seemingly unnecessary spin-and-fire move to first base. Instead of two outs and a runner on third, Noesi had two runners in scoring position and one out. The Russell Martin groundout that immediately followed would theoretically have ended the inning, but that Noesi continue to give up lasers, including a two-run homer to Justin Smoak, and a solo shot to Josh Donaldson, didn't speak strongly to him deserving a better fate.
- But Alexei was really awful out there. He botched two more defensive plays, went 0-3 at the plate on seven pitches, tapped into a deflating double play and declined to talk to the press afterward (it's not like it was a playoff game or something, but it doesn't speak well to how he was doing or feeling). As much as Alexei mistakes bring out the reactionary and deluded from White Sox Twitter, nights this bad make you wonder what's up with him, and whether it's been a season-long problem. Even his manager shrugged with confusion at his actions.
- Noesi, as is his way, stabilized and finished out seven inninga with nothing across after Donaldson's second inning homer, gaining strength and confidence as the night wore on (somehow). Noesi has been flashing just enough ability to make everyone wonder what he could be if the propensity for disastrous missteps could be tamped down just a smidge for his whole career, and I'm not really interested in humoring it anymore.
- Gordon Beckham flashed tremendous leather at third base, twice showing the ability to make hyper-athletic dives on artificial turf, and more importantly, bounce up and fire strong throws with little-to-no recovery time. With his bat not being awful--although he's flashing extreme platoon splits that make him useless as a Gillaspie platoon partner--he's easily one of the best four infielders the Sox have, if they're willing to believe that remains true when he's removed from his bench role.
Next game is Tuesday at 6:07pm CT in Toronto on WPWR. Whatever that means.