The Chicago White Sox allowed the Detroit Tigers to move within one game of their AL Central lead with an 8-6 loss on Wednesday night. The White Sox made a comeback after falling behind, 8-1, but it was a case of too little, too late.
At South Side Sox, Jim Margalus wonders if perhaps Sox manager Robin Ventura hadn't made some curious bullpen decisions, the White Sox may have still had a chance for the win. Margalus takes issue with the use of Brian Omogrosso and particularly Leyson Septimo, who gave up a three-run homer to Prince Fielder in the seventh.
There were a couple problems with those choices. For one, the White Sox offense wasn't done. They came to life in the eighth inning with four runs, including three on Kevin Youkilis' second homer of the night.
The other issue was that the better options were available. Donnie Veal, Ventura's second lefty, eventally pitched to Fielder with nobody on base and the Sox trailing by three (the Sox scored four runs in the eighth to narrow the lead to 8-5). He lured Fielder into a routine flyout.
Margalus sums up his problems with Ventura's decisions nicely:
Ultimately, though, the Tigers shifted the goal posts just far enough by taking advantage of the strange succession of pitchers. It's hard to understand why Ventura didn't treat the middle innings a little more seriously, because the Sox had an opening. Sure, it wasn't coming against Max Scherzer, but the Sox at least made him work. Scherzer threw 100 pitches after five innings, which means Ventura could have planned for at least three innings of the Detroit bullpen if the Sox could keep it close enough. They didn't, and now their lead is down to one game with Justin Verlander pitching in the finale.
The White Sox meet the Tigers one last time this season Thursday, with the first pitch set for 7:10 p.m. CT.
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