1. "Jose Quintana deserves so much better" is an annoying trope that the Sox can't help but keep fulfilling. It smacks of reverence for the win stat, but Quintana is a competitor--it might be one of his strongest traits--who strives to win the game for his team, and clubbing him over the head with negative reinforcement constantly is increasingly gruesome to watch. Where as the last two seasons saw Quintana get below-average support (3.75 runs/game compared to a league average of 4.2), he came into Tuesday night's game getting 2.6 runs per start in 2015...
...and then got one Carlos Sanchez RBI single all night, went eight innings, allowed just two runs, struck out a batter per inning, lowered his ERA to 3.69, and picked up another loss.
2. Quintana had a throwback effort Tuesday night. The way he jammed right handers with aggressive abandon reminded me of how he hung tough in St. Louis in June of 2012 back when he didn't have a curveball or any other approach other than attacking. There's a lot of working the inside corner here and beyond here.
We're finally getting the hot streak of starts that have been due to Quintana for a while. He's on a eight-game quality start streak, in which time he's posted a 2.70 ERA in 53.1 innings.
3. The Sox marked the halfway point of the season with their 21st game where they scored one run or less. Using the powers of multiplication, we can deduce that they are on pace for 42 such games on the season.
There have been 12 teams that have managed to collect 40 or more of these games in a seasons since 2000, and they are not what you call...good teams.
2014 San Diego Padres (77-85)
2013 Miami Marlins (62-100)
2011 San Diego Padres (71-91)
2012 Houston Astros (55-107)
2010 Seattle Mariners (61-101)
2011 Seattle Mariners (67-95)
2009 Pittsburgh Pirates (62-99)
2014 Atlanta Braves (79-83)
2011 Minnesota Twins (63-99)
2014 Cincinnati Reds (76-86)
2012 Chicago Cubs (61-101)
2003 Los Angeles Dodgers (85-77) Hey-hey! Something to aspire to!
2002 Milwaukee Brewers (56-106)
4. And this happened against Felix Doubront! The 27-year-old left-hander breezed through 6.1 innings in under 100 pitches, struck out six and walked one in his first start of the season. He was released by the Cubs in Spring of this year, the Cubs being the same team that has started Clayton Richard and Dallas Beeler this week.
5. The Sox lost Tuesday night with Alexei Ramirez stranded at third after advancing there on a wild pitch with one out and Roberto Osuna facing lefties J.B. Shuck and Conor Gillaspie. They of course didn't convert, since they didn't have anyone in the lineup who could square up Osuna's velocity and fired a million pop-ups into the night sky. Shuck couldn't fly out deep enough and Gillaspie couldn't even get the ball out of the infield. It was bad and disheartening, but led to to cries of the Sox not executing that exemplify a classic case of overanalyzing individual opportunities when they become scarce.
The Sox lost because Ramirez reaching third in the ninth was the only time they got someone to third base other than Beckham scoring in the second inning. No team in the AL scores runners from third with less than two out more than 55% of the time (the Sox are slightly below average at 50%, the Mariners are somehow at 43% if you're wondering why their season is the way it is). If you drill down to two scoring opportunities in the game, you're going to look bad even if you execute the hell out of it.
6. It really speaks to the built-up negativity that Carlos Sanchez can fist an RBI single and turn a nifty threat-erasing double play in the same game, and still leave the game reminding all that he shouldn't be on the team. Having continued to fail the banjo hitter's duty to at least bunt, Sanchez fell behind the count and erased a seventh inning threat by grounding meekly into a double play, and got pulled for the greatness of Conor Gillaspie as a pinch-hitter in the ninth (This, despite this blog's previous stance, is sarcasm, because Conor has been bad this year).
Meanwhile, Micah Johnson seems to have hit, or come close to hitting a ball out of the stadium for the Charlotte Knights Tuesday night. Johnson can't defend and might have driven Alexei Ramirez into an early grave this year, but it's always interesting to hear word of a Sox second baseman hitting for power. For the record, Sanchez had an awful debut in Triple-A as a 21-year-old getting acclimated to the level, so maybe he'll come around...midseason next year. If only we had known that this was a year to punt the season and develop a second basemen ahead of time.
7. It's 2017 today at Baseball Prospectus. They have a collection of articles about where they think baseball will be in 2017--fantasy leaders, top prospects, what players will be rising and struggling, what deadline trades will be made. It's a really fun and interesting look at where a bunch of smart baseball people think the sport will be in two years, including what the White Sox will be up...you know what....you don't want to read this stuff. Don't click on that link, people. Don't do it.
8. FutureSox had an interesting interview with Low-A Kannapolis pitching coach Jose Bautista. There's candid chatter about the process of bringing Spencer Adams into the organization's way of doing things, but most interesting in how deeply-rooted the insistence on standing tall throughout the delivery is. There is definitely a White Sox way when it comes to pitching, and it's hard to argue it doesn't work.
[Snarky comment about org approach to hitting redacted for the sake of brevity]
9. The White Sox somehow still have 11 games left in their hell stretch of schedule. Their last 29 games have been against teams with records .500 or better, and that streak will reach 40 barring a slump from the Tigers, Orioles, Rays or Blue Jays (I omitted the Rangers, who they played before this stretch and currently sit at 41-43). The Sox have gone 13-16 during that time, which isn't awful considering, but their mediocrity against lighter competition ahead of that, this was a stretch where they needed to rally to become deadline buyers.
You could conceivably point at this schedule and say that the Sox clearly aren't completely awful, but there's nowhere this year where you could base a claim that they've looked like a top-5 team in the AL.
10. John Danks against the best offense in baseball probably means we'll get to avoid the annoyance of great pitching wasted. Danks' seven shutout innings against Baltimore was his third quality start in his last eight times out, and it's just a bet on whether he can slip into a long stretch of peak command or surprise enough people with his curve. He probably won't do it tonight, but there's a chance he does!