Pitching is ultimately going to determine whether the White Sox hang on and win the AL Central, claim one of the two wild-card spots, or head for home when the regular season ends Oct. 3.
If your eyes keep getting stuck on the final option, it’s completely understandable.
The Sox have won only two of their last seven games, and Dylan Axelrod and Hector Santiago claimed the victories.
Chris Sale is looking a little gassed again, Jake Peavy continues to pitch under a dark cloud, Gavin Floyd is still on the disabled list, Francisco Liriano has been blah, and Jose Quintana is now a major concern.
A smashing success in his first 15 starts for the Sox, the rookie left-hander turned in his third straight dud in Tuesday night’s 18-9 loss to the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Tigers dropped their second straight home game to Cleveland on Tuesday, so the White Sox still hold a 1-game lead in the AL Central.
Unless the starting rotation gets straightened out in a hurry, don’t expect the Sox to stay ahead of Detroit for long.
Quintana lasted just 1 innings against Minnesota and allowed 7 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks. In his last 3 starts, Quintana has yielded 15 runs on 17 hits and 7 walks over 10 innings.
Inflated numbers aside, Sox manager Robin Ventura is not outwardly worried about Quintana, or any other of his starters for that matter.
“I’m not concerned,” Ventura said. “(There’s) not a wall. You are playing another team that’s competitive. It is what it is tonight; I’m not even looking at this as a sign of anything. It’s just one of those games … just put it behind you and play tomorrow.”
Quintana pitched 102 innings last season — for Class A Tampa in the Yankees’ system. The 23-year-old starter now has 115 major-league innings under his belt, so you do have to wonder if he finally has hit the wall.
You also have to wonder if Sale, Peavy, Liriano and Floyd are going to be able to get back into gear over the final 27 games.
As for Tuesday’s game, Quintana and relief pitcher Philip Humber took the worst of it.
Humber retired just one batter in the Twins’ 10-run fifth inning while allowing 8 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks.
“It wasn’t fun by any means,” Humber said. “But that’s part of the game. I feel bad because the guys were battling and they never quit. It just wasn’t our night, but I’m sure we’ll come back in tomorrow and go at it again.”
The Sox took a 3-0 lead in the first inning and rallied with 4 runs in the eighth inning and 1 run in the ninth after falling behind 18-4.
They set a franchise record with 10 doubles, with Dayan Viciedo and Dewayne Wise each hitting a pair.
Wise also pitched a scoreless ninth inning, his second relief stint this season. On June 29, Wise was with the Yankees when he retired both White Sox hitters he faced.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.