posted 8 years ago
When the Chicago White Sox self-sustaining run of do-or-die success came to an end Monday night, the final loss hung on the shoulders of Gavin Floyd.
Television cameras at U.S. Cellular Field caught Floyd with his head hung low as he sat on the White Sox bench having been pulled from his first major league postseason start after just three-plus innings. Two solo home runs and a lead-off walk to start the fourth were his undoing.
And with that, the first of this postseason’s 16 former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons was eliminated; the second if you count Brewers pitching coach Mike Maddux, who played on the inaugural Red Barons squad and was eliminated Sunday by the Phillies, who also had a pitching coach with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre connections, former Red Barons coach Rich Dubee.
Predictably, most of the local connections are now in Philadelphia where 12 former Red Barons dot the Phillies lineup, bench, rotation and bullpen. But there are also Red Barons with the Dodgers, the Rays and the Red Sox.
They are MVPs and long relievers. No. 1 starters and backup catchers.
And for a while, they were all ours.
We’ve seen Floyd’s look of disappointment without the need of a zooming camera lens. He came to Moosic in 2004 a fast-rising prospect and he left in 2006 a beaten and battered pitcher. His record was 14-16 and his ERA 5.25 through three mostly disappointing seasons at Lackawanna County Stadium.
Philadelphia had seen enough and packaged Floyd with Gio Gonzalez to trade for Freddy Garcia before the 2007 season. Garcia put up Floyd-type numbers in his one year with the Phillies, while Floyd himself finally developed into the starter Philadelphia envisioned when they made him a first-round pick in 2001.
He was sixth in the American League with 17 wins this season and the White Sox never would have advanced to Monday’s finale without his six outstanding innings in the next-to-last game of the regular season.
Around here, we saw flashes of that potential. We saw Floyd’s big curveball — though we rarely saw it for strikes — and we saw an occasionally devastating fastball, changeup combination — though not with any consistency — and finally seeing Floyd’s potential brought to life in the big leagues only reminds us what the Yankees spent the season learning with Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy.