The White Sox silenced the 44,000 plus Yankees’ fans last night by stealing a victory away from the Bronx Bombers in the Top of the 9th. With two on and no out, Dayan Viciedo hit a towering bomb to left field to give the Sox a 4-3 lead and Addison Reed closed it out for his 11th save in 12 chances for the win. The Sox had a little luck fall their way when Yankees’ reliever, Clay Rapada, sailed a throw into center field on what possibly could have been a double play. Instead, it put runners on the corner with no out and Viciedo coming to the plate. BOOM! Sox win! That was only the third time in 45 chances that the Yankees lost when leading after the 8th.
The best news of the night was that Dylan Axelrod pitched seven strong innings against the Yankees, but left the game trailing 2-1. Axelrod is another young pitcher from the Sox farm system proving he can pitch at the big league level.
The Sox now have six-rookie pitchers on their 25-man roster, and all have pitched well this season. Each of the relievers (excluding Leyson Septimo who was called-up Thursday) had at least one bad outing, but all have big league stuff and poise. This may come as a surprise to some because the White Sox farm system is ranked as the worst in baseball, but obviously that’s a misnomer.
Jose Quintana who moved up from Double-A ball to the big leagues without missing a beat in six starts has compiled a 1.25 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP over 43.1 innings pitched. He’s currently pitched 16 scoreless innings straight allowing no walks and only 11 hits. Quintana will be tested this evening going against the Yankees’ offense in New York. Quintana has received very little run support as he’s only allowed six runs total and is only 2-1 on the year. These numbers are very impressive at the moment and should he be able to sustain this he will surely be the biggest surprise of 2012.
Viciedo has replaced Carlos Quinten so well no one even thinks about CQ. Viciedo hit his 14th homer and drove in his 37th RBI. He’s projected to hit 30 homers and drive in 79; pretty good production out of your number seven hitter in the line-up.
The biggest issue the White Sox face right now is when will Paul Konerko snap out of his slump that began over two weeks ago. He’s in-between right now, not knowing when to turn on a pitch versus take one to the opposite field. He had some decent passes against Ivan Nova last night, but with a runner on third he popped out. For the majority of this season he’s been taking that ball to right field to drive in the run. Robin Ventura and his staff talked to Dunn about getting back to hitting the ball to center, left-center and he snapped out of his slump. Hopefully, they have some words of wisdom for Paulie.
With last night’s win the Sox maintained their 2-1/2 game lead over the Indians and whopping four game lead over the Tigers, who are still trying to get to .500. The big news out of Tiger camp is V-Mart could return by September, which might be a month too late.
Anyway, the Sox are looking good and are in pretty good shape with the upcoming pitching match-ups to actually win a series in Yankee stadium. I like our chances.