Art Berke, a lifelong White Sox fan, has worked at the highest levels of the sports industry with Major League Baseball, ABC Television and Sports Illustrated. He grew up in Northwest Indiana, in the shadow of old Comiskey Park, and proudly proclaims 2005 as the best year of his life. Art offers his glass half-full opinions and observations as he lives and dies with the Sox.
As I approach the third anniversary of writing Art of the Pale Hose, I’m still enjoying the process of blogging about the ins and outs and ups and downs of my favorite baseball team. It’s been especially fun to write about the victories–like last night’s 6-0 shutout win over the Twins behind Chris Sale and a potent offense, which was highlighted by Alex Rios and Paul Konerko home runs.
That said, one thing is going to change–I’m moving to another venue and this is my last day on mlblogs.com.
The good folks at ChicagoNow.com, the popular Chicago Tribune-owned blog network with several hundred blogs covering all interests, have asked me to join their select roster of White Sox bloggers. It will give me the opportunity to reach you as well as a new universe of Sox fans.
So, beginning tomorrow (Friday), you can find me at chicagonow.com/art-pale-hose. I hope you will join me there. And I thank you for your loyal support.
I can’t say last night’s 9-2 thrashing by the Twins was a big surprise, though I would have preferred a fifth straight win and the chance to get over the .500 mark.
1. First of all, it would have been natural to have a letdown after the emotionally-charged weekend sweep at Wrigley.
2. The off-day on Monday might very well have stifled the Sox momentum.
3. Earlier in the day, the Sox attended the funeral of popular batting practice pitcher/coach Kevin Hickey. So, the day probably manifested into more of a reflective one than an atmosphere suited for a hard-nosed victory on the baseball diamond.
4. We continue NOT to play our best ball against the Twins. We’ve gotten better lately, but I guess it’s something about those uniforms.
5. The Sox have trouble facing pitchers they’ve never seen.
6. If the first five points didn’t contribute to the disappointing loss, this one certainly did: Simply put, this kind of blowout happens in baseball.
It was three days of fun for White Sox fans this weekend as solid pitching and a bevy of home runs carried the Sox to an impressive and very satisfying three-game sweep over the Cubs at Wrigley. And, more importantly, the South Siders, having won four in a row, now stand at .500 with a 21-21 record and are in second place only 2 1/2 games behind the first place Indians.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get better after the Friday and Saturday wins, the Sox rose to the occasion this afternoon winning 6-0, the first time the North Siders have been shut out this season. The Sox pounded out three more home runs–back-to-back fourth inning blasts by Gordon Beckham and Adam Dunn and a fifth inning solo clout by Tyler Flowers–giving them eight for the series. Dunn and Beckham led the way with two apiece while Flowers, A.J. Pierzynski, Dayan Viciedo and Paul Konerko hit one apiece.
Starters Philip Humber, John Danks and Jake Peavy did a terrific job–combining for 19 innings, two earned runs only 11 hits and 13 strikeouts–and the bullpen, with the exception of Zach Stewart giving up four runs in the ninth yesterday when the game was already in hand, closed the door. Peavy, by the way, is now 5-1 with a 2.39 ERA.
Hopefully the winning streak continues as the Sox open a three-game series on Tuesday night against the Twins.
That’s been the key factor for the White Sox in the first two games of the Crosstown Series. On Friday, it was PaulKonerko‘s two-run homer and Gordon Beckham‘s tie-breaking blast that proved to be the difference in the 3-2 victory over the Cubs. Last night, Dayan Viciedo, A.J. Pierzynski and Adam Dunn all went deep in the Sox’s impressive 7-4 triumph.
Today, the Sox are hoping for more of the same and have the added bonus of having Jake Peavy on the mound. A win would give the South Siders a satisfying sweep and put them at the .500 mark.
Sox Notes of Note: According to reports, veteran second baseman Orlando Hudson (below), recently released by the Padres, is on his way to the White Sox. Word is he will back up Beckham and play a little third base as well. While he played third in the minor leagues, Hudson has never played the position at the big league level. I don’t see a downside with the signing, even though Hudson has been with five teams since 2008 and has been going downhill fast. He’ll be making the major league minimum salary and if he doesn’t cut it, it won’t be hard to let him go. Look at it this way, as a backup he brings a positive veteran presence and he can’t be much worse at the plate than Brent Morel has been…The baseball gods must be on our side as it looks like Captain Konerko has escaped the Friday beaning without any long-term issues. It could have been so much worse.
The Chicago media will undoubtedly turn today’s game into a celebration of Kerry Wood‘s career as he pitched for the last time and walked off the field to a Standing O. And Cub fans will eat it up. After all, they have to find something to cheer about about after more than a century without experiencing the ultimate baseball accomplishment.
Congratulations Kerry, but we Sox fans look at today much differently…
–It was a nice 3-2 victory with a fine start by Phil Humber and scoreless relief by Matt Thornton (Humber was charged with both runs), Nate Jones and new closer Addison Reed.
–It was a game where we got sweet revenge with cocky headhunter Jeff Samardzija, who hit Paul Konerko in the face with a pitch after Paulie clocked him with a two-run homer in his first time at bat. The payback came when Gordon Beckham touched what’s his name with an eighth-inning, solo blast that proved to be the difference.
So, while they’ll be lifting a glass (or 12) to Wood in Wrigleyville tonight, I’ll be grateful that Alex Rios‘s ninth inning “lost in the sun” fly ball didn’t affect the outcome, happy for the beleaguered Beckham and pray that Paulie is OK.
The quick two-game road trip to the left coast, between the pair of games against the Tigers last Monday and Tuesday and the upcoming weekend series at Wrigley beginning tomorrow, ended today in a split. At least the plane trip home will be a pleasant one.
Speaking of pleasant, the offense woke up in the 6-1 victory over the Angels. The red-hot A.J. Pierzynski pounded out three hits with two RBIs and four players had two hits apiece: AdamDunn (2 RBIs), Paul Konerko (RBI), Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez. Dayan Viciedo, who is on a tear, added his sixth home run.
Chris Sale got credit for this fourth victory, pitching 5 1/3 innings. The only run he surrendered came on Albert Pujols third homer, his second in two days. Nate Jones (1 1/3 innings), Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain ( an inning apiece) closed the door the rest of the way with a scoreless 3 2/3.
Halfway through yesterday’s game, with the Sox leading 6-0, I started to think about what I was going to write about the Sox’s two-game sweep over the Tigers.
Then came the top of the sixth inning and all I could think about is “Hold the Presses.”
Andy Dirks singles. Miguel Cabrera homers. Prince Fielder doubles. Alex Avila grounds out, Fielder to third. Brennan Boesch is hit by a pitch. Ryan Raburn homers. Jhonny Peralta walks. (Will Ohman replaces JakePeavy). Pinch-hitter Delmon Young is hit by a pitch, Peralta to second. Austin Jackson homers. Dirks pops out. Cabrera lines out to center.
Heading into the ninth trailing 10-6, The Sox did make it interesting. They scored twice and had runners on second and third with Dayan Viciedo representing the winning run at the plate. Tank hit a long drive to right that came within a few feet of sending Sox fans home happy. But it was not to be.
Now comes the fun part. After losing a tough game, the Sox entourage took the long flight to Cali to face the Angels in a two-game series, today and tomorrow. Then it’s back to Chicago to face the Media Darlings at Bartman Field. What were the schedule-makers thinking?
Sox Note of Note: A.J. Pierzynski was on fire yesterday, going 5 for 5 with three RBIs and two runs scored.