Dana Eveland, who is with his fourth organization since 2005, might as well be Sandy Koufax when he faces the White Sox. He’s now 3-1 in six starts this season with two of the victories against the South Siders.
He beat them on April 15 in Toronto, allowing only two runs and three hits in six innings. Last night, in the 2-0 Blue Jay win, he hurled seven innings of shutout ball, surrendering a mere two hits. It’s either that Eveland has turned the corner since failing to stick with the Brewers, Diamondbacks and A’s or he’s simply taken advantage of our season-long offensive doldrums.
It’s reached the point in the Sox season where nobody really knows if this is a .500 team or a contender. John Danks has been the only consistent starter and aside from Paul Konerko, Alex Rios and Andruw Jones, the offense, in the words of a fellow Sox fan, has been revolting. And the bullpen has suffered from the starters’ inconsistency.
We have no other choice but to wait it out and hope that a winning streak is right around the corner.
Like most White Sox fans I’m looking for signs. Signs that the Sox will bust out of their inconsistent play, go on a run and enjoy a lot more post-game celebrations.
Winning their second series of the season this week–the first against a division opponent–is a start. Jake Peavy‘s performance on Monday and Freddy Garcia‘s outing last night were encouraging, as was the nine-run outburst led by Andruw Jones and Alex Rios on Wednesday. But the inconsistency reared its ugly head on Tuesday in the 7-2 drubbing at the hands of the Royals, forcing Sox Nation to scratch their heads in confusion.
This weekend’s series should be telling. The Sox face the Blue Jays in a four-game set. Toronto is holding its own in the AL East and boasts a talented starting staff. One of the questions here is if the Sox staff, so highly touted entering the season, can match up with them. It’s almost been as baffling as the sometimes non-existent offense
“On paper, we were one of the best, and now when you look at that paper, we’re one of the worst in the league,” Mark Buehrle told the Sun-Times. “We haven’t done our job, and us going out there and lasting four, five innings messes up the bullpen. I think you point fingers at us on why they’ve had some problems in the bullpen.”
Tonight it’s John Danks (3-0, 1.85 ERA), the lone consistent performer on the Sox staff, vs. Dana Eveland (2-1, 4.76) who was impressive against us in Toronto. Tomorrow night it’s Buehrle (2-4, 5.30) vs. Shaun Marcum (1-1, 3.12). It’ll be Peavy (1-2, 6.31) vs. Brett Cecil (2-1, 2.61) on Saturday night and Gavin Floyd (1-3, 6.89) vs. Ricky Romero (3-1, 3.00) on Sunday afternoon.
“Everything in life is about consistency,” our Ozzie told reporters. “When you’re not consistent doing something, you’re always going to fail. I think that happened here.”
Normally a win over the Royals in May doesn’t mean much. But to the struggling White Sox, who came into the game tied with KC for last place in the AL Central, the 5-1 victory was filled with some much-needed positive moments.
First and foremost, Jake Peavy (above) was the Jake Peavy we’ve been expecting all along. Seven innings, no runs, four hits. nine strikeouts in a dominant performance. Andruw Jones and Alex Rios continued to hit. The former went 2 for 4 with two RBI and the latter went 3 for 4 with two ribbies. A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez, both on the road back from batting average oblivion, each had two hits and although Gordon Beckham was hitless he walked twice and scored a run.
Williams: No time to panic
Kenny Williams tried to convince reporters before last night’s game that it’s premature to press the panic button for the 2010 Sox. He’s on the record as saying that it takes 60 games to evaluate the dynamics of a team. That said, he did admit there might be a time where he has to face reality. But, according to KW, it’s not now.
You can look at today’s 7-6 White Sox victory against the World Champs two ways.
Option 1: The Sox charged to a 5-1 lead, highlighted by two Andruw Jones homers and one off the bat of Mark Kotsay, temporarily lost the four-run margin and had enough grit to come back and break their six-game Yankee Stadium (old and new) losing streak.
Option 2: The South Siders blew another lead, suffered through a nightmare inning by Scott Linebrink and were lucky to survive.
Whichever explanation you choose, the good news is that Sox won against arguably baseball’s best team at a place where they haven’t won much lately. And aside from the homers, A.J. Pierzynski broke out of a season-long slump with a 3 for 4 day and the game-winning two-RBI double (pictured above) while Bobby Jenks had a relatively calm ninth inning to earn the save.
Mark Buehrle goes in the rubber game tomorrow against Phil Hughes as the Sox attempt to win the series from the Yankees.
Sox note of note: Three former Sox pitchers saw action for the Yanks today–Javy Vazquez, Damaso Marte and Boone Logan. Javy was tagged for five runs and Marte surrendered A.J.’s key double. Logan struck out the only batter he faced.
Another nail-biter, another win for the White Sox as they sweep the Mariners. On Friday, it was Andruw Jones‘s walkoff, yesterday it was deja vu with Alex Rios the hero and today it was Paul Konerko‘s eighth inning homer that helped the Pale Hose squeak by, 3-2.
Three one-run victories, three dramatic game-winning homers and the Sox have come back to life. And John Danks has proven to be the early go-to guy on the pitching staff, hurling another gem today and improving to 3-0 with a miniscule 1.55 ERA.
The Sox have now played 19 games–eight have been decided by one run with our record in those games standing at 6-2. If the first three weeks are any indication, I guess we have to accept that they’ll be a lot of close games this season. Be prepared.
Sox notes of note: One of the keys to the Sox sweep of Seattle had to be the fact that Sox pitching held their No. 1 and 2 hitters Ichiro Suzuki and Chone Figgins to a mere five hits in 24 at bats in the three games. Keep those guys off the bases and you’ve got a good chance to do what we did…Terrific feature story on Sergio Santos in today’s New York Times.
It had all the makings of another heartbreaking loss, but Andruw Jones–celebrating his 33rd birthday–made MY wish come true tonight with a walk-off home run in the ninth to give the White Sox a 7-6 victory over the Mariners. It was his second blast of the game.
Going into the top of the seventh, the Sox looked safe with a 5-2 lead as Gavin Floyd was in control and backed up by Jones, Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin homers. But visions of a win faded quickly as Jose Lopez tagged former teammate J.J. Putz for a grand slam to put Seattle up 6-5.
The Sox tied it up in the bottom of the seventh on a clutch double by Alex Rios. They then held the Mariners scoreless in the eighth and ninth thanks to Matt Thornton‘s 2 1/3 perfect innnings, highlighted by five strikeouts. It set the stage for Jones’s two-out heroics.
Andruw, thanks, we needed that. Happy Birthday and many more.
The angst created by the slow start dissipated a bit last night after the White Sox rose to the occasion with a very satisfying 4-1 win over the red-hot Rays. It was highlighted by another John Danks gem.
After surrendering a first inning homer to Sox nemesis Carl Crawford, Danks was virtually untouchable. In eight innings he gave up two hits, both to Crawford, and struck out nine. He is now 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA. Bobby Jenks came on in the ninth for his third save.
The offense, while still far from where it should be, did just enough powered by Paul Konerko and Andruw Jones homers. I’m still waiting for Gordon Beckham, among others, to break out soon.
Kenny Williams Speaks
The Sox GM spoke to reporters before the game last night and talked about the fans and the poor start of the season:
“If you have a passionate fan base, you have to be prepared for a heightened sense of urgency or worry when things don’t go your way–just as you are the beneficiary of extreme excitement when it does go your way. You got to take the good and bad with it. Right now, everyone is a little upset with the way we’re playing. So are we.”
It will be an interesting dynamic tonight as Mark Buehrle faces the Rays for the first time since the perfect game.