After one round, the scorecard:
Edwin Jackson: 7 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
Daniel Hudson: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
That’ll do, Edwin. That’ll do.
On Wednesday night, Jackson did what the White Sox version of Hudson, Lucas Harrell and Carlos Torres could not do — throw strikes to a bad offensive team and let them get themselves out.
The way he approached his first batter, Austin Jackson, was representative of his effort on the whole. He got ahead with two fastballs, and then after a pitch out of the zone, he threw a rolling slider that Jackson shot into center field.
Edwin Jackson spotted his fastball OK, but his slider control varied from good late-breaking action away from right-handed hitters to inner-half hangers.
One in particular could have — and probably should have — changed the entire complexion of the game. He threw this one to Miguel Cabrera after Paul Konerko’s throwing error put two on with nobody out:
A Triple Crown candidate doesn’t miss that pitch very often. If Jackson got what he deserved, the Sox are trailing 3-1 instead of ahead 1-0.
Maybe that flyout is a gift from the baseball gods, who watched the previous fifth (and sixth) starters walk 14 guys combined over their three starts. Jackson, in contrast, threw first-pitch strikes to 23 of 31 batters, and nearly three out of every four pitches were in the zone. Ozzie Guillen was certainly appreciative of his control, as well as his velocity.
I’d say that Jackson’s slider has to show more bite, and he needs to hit the mitt and miss better his next time out, but after looking through the rest of the schedule, I don’t think that’s necessary. Here’s what he has to contend with if everybody stays on schedule (league rank in OPS):
- Aug. 9: Baltimore (13th)
- Aug. 14: Detroit (6th)
- Aug. 20: Kansas City (9th)
- Aug. 26: Baltimore (13th)
- Aug. 31: Cleveland (12th)
- Sept. 6: Detroit (6th)
- Sept. 11: Kansas City (9th)
- Sept. 17: Detroit (6th)
- Sept. 22: Oakland (11th)
- Sept. 28: Boston (1st)
- Oct. 3: Cleveland (12th)
Ho. Lee. Crap. This is a cakewalk.
Boston will be tough. Otherwise, the only other team in the top half is Detroit, who is 6th and sinking (they’re hitting .244/.314/.359 as a team after the All-Star break, and their lineup looks every bit of it).
And it’s not like Jackson’s opponents are representative of the team’s road to October. The Sox actually have a difficult September ahead of them. Jackson is set to miss the Twins three times, the Yankees and the other series with the Red Sox, too.
There are two ways of looking at this, and it depends how long you wish to bemoan what still looks like a very iffy trade:
The “que sera sera” crowd: Kenny Williams put the Sox in a prime position to maximize winning the eminently winnable games. It will be a disappointment if the Sox don’t go at least 8-3 in these games. If Don Cooper needs more than a week to make the changes he thinks are necessary, the waiting period isn’t going to hurt that much.
The “I still hate it” crowd: Williams spent his best prospect on a guy who will face only one truly formidable foe the rest of the way, when Hudson probably could have posted a winning record against this sad bunch.
Staying in the present, Jackson made a successful first step, and not just for himself. His victory secured at least a split on the road against Detroit, and right now the Tigers need to win these kinds of series in order to have a shot at climbing back into contention.
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*Pitch f/x had difficulty differentiating Jackson’s slider from his changeup, which is an indication of how weak his slider was. But J.J. notes that he was throwing more changeups than usual, too.
*Mark Kotsay must be the Robert Boyle of the White Sox:
“Having a lefty in the middle of the lineup right now for us is good for a different reason,” said Guillen, pointing out how Kotsay breaks up a right-handed-dominant middle of the order. “Personally, the numbers out there for Kotsay [are not what] he deserves.
“You can ask his teammates, you can ask [hitting coach] Greg Walker. He should have better numbers than what he has. He went through tough times with people making plays on him. That happens all year long. I’m not making an excuse. He swings the bat good. He’s hitting tough luck from the beginning.”
I’d like to feel sympathy for Kotsay. I would. But right now, he has a strenuous battle ahead of him just to get to replacement level by the end of the season.
*Chris Sale is Peavy-pumped: “I’m going to show up at the park, be there for pregame, go out there for BP (batting practice), throw a little bit, and if my name gets called, hey, go out there and give ’em hell.”
*Speaking of raising hell, Guillen thinks Carlos Quentin is going to unleash his wrath on the Orioles.
*Tdogg at South Side Sox posted his July review.
Minor league roundup:
- Jacksonville 7, Birmingham 5
- Eduardo Escobar went 2-for-3 with a homer, a walk and three RBI. He also dropped down a sac bunt.
- Christian Marrero was 1-for-5.
- Justin Greene singled, walked and struck out twice.
- Wilmington 9, Winston-Salem 5
- Josh Phegley went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
- Jose Martinez wore the collar, striking out twice.
- Jon Gilmore went 1-for-4 with an RBI.
- Kannapolis 4, Greensboro 2
- Andre Rienzo was good again: 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. Both runs came on a homer.
- Kyle Colligan singled, walked and struck out over four trips tot he plate.
- Tyler Saladino went 1-for-3 with a walk and a double.
- Nick Ciolli went 0-for-4 with a K.
- Great Falls 6, Missoula 2
- Ross Wilson doubled, walked and struck out over four ABs.
- Andy Wilkins went 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI.
- Starting for Missoula, David Holmberg: 5 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.
- Charlotte OFF
- Bristol OFF