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White Sox 2, Tigers 1: Chris Sale beats Alfredo Simon in windy pitcher's duel

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Chris Sale set the White Sox single-season strikeout record and the Tigers moved closer to a protected draft pick in 2016.

David Banks/Getty Images

When Jefry Marte hit a solo home run in the top of the second inning, I was not sure how to react. The Detroit Tigers are not that far removed from their dark ages, but this feeling of irrelevance is still an unfamiliar one given their success over the past four years. Add in the newly-weighted importance of draft position -- particularly, the dividing line that is the No. 10 overall pick -- and I was almost disappointed in the outcome.

Fortunately for those less conflicted about the #ProtectThePick movement, the White Sox were able to add a pair of runs in the third inning. Carlos Sanchez singled to lead off the inning, then Tyler Saladino was hit by an Alfredo Simon pitch. As the lineup turned over, Adam Eaton hit a double that skidded past center fielder Anthony Gose, scoring both runners. Eaton was thrown out at second base after getting a bit too greedy, effectively ending the threat for more Chicago runs.

Outside of the scoring, there was not much action in this game. A strong wind blowing across the field from left to right knocked down almost anything hit to left field -- making Marte's home run that much more impressive -- and Chris Sale did most of the rest. The lanky lefthander struck out seven, breaking Ed Walsh's century-old franchise record for strikeouts in a single season. The Tigers were unable to chase Sale until the eighth inning, when he left a pair of runners on base with zero outs. (Un)fortunately, as the Tigers have been wont to do this season, they failed to plate either baserunner.

Alfredo Simon was equally stingy, holding the White Sox to the two runs in eight innings of work. Simon induced a season-high 13 ground ball outs, an effective strategy given how easily fly balls may have gone out to right field in the strong crosswind.

ROARS:

Alfredo Simon: Eight strong innings from Alfredo in what was likely his last outing as a Tiger.

Jefry Marte: You dinger, you get a roar.

HISSES:

The offense: Chris Sale and the wind did not help, but the offense managed just one run on five hits.

STREAKS AND STATS:
  • Simon's 13 ground ball outs were a season-high.
  • The loss dropped the Tigers to 73-86, 1 1/2 games behind the White Sox in the AL Central. The Tigers are a full game "ahead" of the San Diego Padres for the No. 8 overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft, with the Padres in action against the Los Angeles Dodgers late Friday night.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs