The White Sox dropped their 2nd straight game at the hands of the Washington Nationals and now stand at 4-4 on the young season. When discussing this game, two main takeaways need to be brought up ... and not much of the discussion comes as much of a shock.
The game started off positively, as starter Gavin Floyd seemed to have his good 'stuff' and the offense did a nice job producing a run to in the top half of the 1st inning (Jeff Keppinger single, Alex Rios double, Adam Dunn RBI groundout).
Although the Sox held that lead for a little while, things fell apart quickly come those dreaded middle innings once again.
While his pitch count was down and everything through 3 innings seemed awfully good for Floyd, all of the sudden he stopped hitting his spots and got the ball up repeatedly. Bryce Harper started off the Nats' charge with a mammoth home run almost to the 3rd deck in right field. But hey, good hitters beat you sometimes ... it just happens. Unfortunately that seemed to be all it took for Gavin to completely fall apart.
The Nationals produced another run in the 4th before tagging him for one more run in the 5th and two in the 6th before he was chased after 5.1 innings pitched.
We could just say this start was extremely Floydian. We could say the stacked Nats' lineup was just the better unit Wednesday night. But after two recent losses coming at the hands of Jose Quintana and Jake Peavy mid-inning meltdowns, it's fair to get at least a little bit concerned with the trend.
Of course, we're only 8 games into the 162-game marathon we call the MLB regular season ... but after our starters have failed nearly every time out recently to push through the middle innings and take the team late into ball games, it starts to become disconcerting.
But all-in-all, this is just who Floyd is ... he makes mistakes leaving pitches up and has very mediocre performances scattered throughout his seasons. But it's more disappointing than it usually is here because (1) the team really could've used him stepping up as a veteran to give the team a chance to take the series Thursday and (2) because it seemed for a while that he had his good-Gavin stuff.
We touched on the Sox' first run of the game, which was well produced and hard earned. But like most of the other games this year, things looked very bleak most of the way.
The Sox spoiled opportunities to score, even if mild opportunities at that, in the 4th, 5th, and 8th innings in addition to failing to add an extra run in the 1st inning. The Pale Hose, as a ball club, are now hitting just .241 overall and well below .150 as a team with runners in scoring position, as they've left the 4th most ducks on the pond in all of baseball so far.
Sure, this offense is obviously going to be more all-or-nothing than others, but if it's this bad, I don't see how the team will be able to keep up in the AL Central, which is already showing how competitive it's going to be.
Like with everything else, only a couple games with different results will change our attitudes, but it's still a bad trend to see starting early on in the season. Hopefully it reverses itself much sooner rather than later.
Although the positives were few and far between, there were at least a few ...
1. Jeff Keppinger continues to look more like himself, putting the bat on the ball and making very solid contact.
2. The bullpen did their job, hurling 2.2 more scoreless (though not flawless) innings.
3. Alex Rios continues to dazzle. Although we're going to need the offense to come from more than one guy, it's sure nice to see something consistent in the lineup.
Box Scores via USA Today Online