1. Zach Duke is more committed to the tank than I am to waking up every morning. Brought in with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, just so he could go lefty-lefty against No. 9 hitter Anthony Gose, Duke promptly walked Gose, and then started 3-0 on Rajai Davis before handing him a walk-off double into the right-field corner to lose the game 2-1 in extras. With the Diamondbacks victory, the Sox are now alone in the No. 10 slot for the draft. Can't argue with results.
Duke's 11.9% walk rate is an unacceptable career-high, and would still be double-digits if you removed all his intentional passes. Please step up and suddenly be great, Dan Jennings.
2. I've been a low man on Tyler Saladino, but since my ability to go on being a White Sox fan is the solace that their incompetence is mostly anonymous, his rescuing the franchise from the ignominy of a friggin' Daniel Norris-Buck Farmer-Ian Kroll-Drew VerHagen(?)-Neftali Feliz no-hitter by roping a one-out ninth-inning triple means that he is Sox God-King for life. A 20-year-contract is his, just to get things started. Alexei Ramirez will now have to be left in Detroit in a Kroger, just so the full-time shortstop gig can be his alone. It's a heavy cost, but Saladino's triple into the left-center gap rescued the franchise from very public humiliation, and I will forever be grateful.
His season batting line is still very bad.
3. The terrifying part of the near no-hitter is that it pretty much happened against a top-line White Sox lineup. Sure, Trayce Thompson hit third, but that's kind of the reality now. Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Avisail Garcia, Carlos Sanchez and Alexei Ramirez went 0-18 with six strikeouts, and, uh, that can be kind of crippling.
In the ninth inning, Robin Ventura inserted some offense by pinch-hitting for Tyler Flowers with J.B. Shuck...then brought Geovany Soto on as a defensive replacement without hitting, and I just....
/stares out window for 45 minutes
Promise me someone will go give hitterish backup catcher Geo Soto a good home.
4. Ok, ok, ok, ok, just this part: J.B. Shuck has career-long reverse splits:
.289/.345/.355 vs. LHP in 169 career PA.
.260/.308/.333 vs. RHP in 668 career PA.
That's stayed true this year, and Robin has still used him like he's Conor Gillaspie (128 PA vs. RHP, 25 PA vs. LHP). Which is to say nothing of the "JUST LET SOTO HIT" issue.
5. Jose Quintana was on the other side of this late-September curiosity, being mostly dominant over seven innings of one-run ball marred only by a rather meaty fastball he threw to James McCann in the seventh.
Quintana makes it work by not walking anyone and dotting his fastball anywhere he wants in the continental US, so when he can pull out a plus-plus curveball like he had working on Tuesday night, things can go very easily and very smoothly for him. He never flirted with a no-hitter, and finished with a pedestrian five strikeouts, possibly due trying to ace hitters with backdoor curves a bit much, but this was as good of a version of him as you would hope to see. What a smooth and balanced delivery.
Quintana did wind up raising his September ERA up to 1.00, since he's now allowed three runs in 27 innings. But he is strangely within range of career-season now. At 197.1 innings, he'll clear his career-high in his next start, his current 3.38 ERA is within shouting range of last year's career-best 3.32, and he's dropped his walk rate for the third year in a row to a microscopic 5.1%.
6. Brian Anderson subbed in for Steve Stone in the announcing booth Tuesday night, and definitely outstripped Scott Podsednik by having the courage to speak aloud, and beat Aaron Rowand by seemingly having his own agenda and talking points beyond just hanging out with Hawk. The reason there's such a stark difference in Steve Stone with and without Hawk is that Harrelson will just never play facilitator for Stone's talking points, and he never becomes fully unmoored without that. A relative motormouth like Anderson, seemed free of such restrictions. Famously busted prospect is a less traditional announcer selection than famous overachiever, but Anderson has an eagerness to prove himself that serves well.
This also created some awkward moments, when Anderson would make some observation from personal experience that countered conventional wisdom and cliche, and Hawk would note it, then reaffirm cliche. But if nothing else Anderson showed the benefits of employing someone younger than 65, because the anecdotes from his playing days that actually involve people I've seen play. If I got one story a week as good as "Carlos Quentin used to take dry hacks while naked in the shower and chew his fingernails down to the nub" I'd be set.
To reiterate, I would stick Anderson into a three-man booth with Steve Stone, sit through constant championing of "chemistry" of the '05 team in pure abstract by Hawk, for the sake of clubhouse anecdotes about Quentin, AJ Pierzynski, Paul Konerko, rookie-season Alexei Ramirez, Ozzie Guillen, the entire '05 playoffs, JUAN URIBE---do you see what I'm getting at here?
Also, someone would actually talk during the 15-20 galling losses per season that force Hawk into silence.
7. From the collection of sudden revelations for struggling and expensive veteran pitchers:
The alternative to the mechanical defect not being discovered until the dog days of September is never finding it all, and we're witness to three years of him getting relentlessly shelled and shrugging helplessly.
8. Jake Petricka worked 2.2 innings of high-leverage work Tuesday night, his longest outing since April 2014. He picked up for Quintana in the eighth and took the game into two outs in the bottom of the 10th when it was determined that someone else was going to need to step in and blow this game (Zach Duke).
It was an unusually heavy outing for Petricka in that regard, but he breezed through it with just 33 pitches and didn't allow a single baserunner, so just letting the man cook might have been the guiding principle. Also, the man hadn't worked in over a week! You know who's worked a lot more recently than that?
9. Wednesday's starter will be Frankie Montas after all!
So Montas and Scott Carroll will likely tag-team against Justin Verlander, spoiling a duel between Chris Sale and the Tigers rejuvenated ace that Sale was likely not up for anyway. The Tigers offense has seemed utterly lifeless all week, so Montas should have a decent shot at four-to-five innings.
10. Gordon Beckham's talk with Scott Merkin sounds like his normal lines about "putting too much pressure on himself" with the accumulated frustration of one underwhelming season after another finally starting to bleed in.
Uh, that's pretty dark, Gordon.
Merkin notes that Beckham could still contribute to a winning team, which is both true, and another way of saying he is going to look best on a club where he doesn't have to carry any offensive weight. Beckham is a guy you're fine with as your No. 9 hitter, but on the White Sox, he's among far too many peers. And the larger problem is, guys with his profile don't have their pick of opportunities, and the competition for roster spots between the no-hit middle infielders crop is actually rather fierce. He might need to escape Chicago to lose "his demons," but Chicago might be the rare market that sees something special about his skillset.
11. RIP Yogi Berra