Tagged: J.J. Putz

Win or Lose, These Sox Keep Coming at You

55690296.jpgYou’ve no doubt heard all of the details about the circumstances behind last night’s split doubleheader between the White Sox and Royals in Kansas City:
* The  terrible decision to start the game on Friday when umpire Joe West was told a torrential downpour was on its way.
* The fact that Edwin Jackson lost his start and reliever Tony Pena (above) had to start Game 2.
* The Fox Sports edict that the first game had to start at 6:05 CT–with a day game on Sunday.
Those developments set the stage for an eight-hour marathon, which saw the Sox play two extra-inning games–a 6-5 defeat in Game 1 (11 innings) after they blew a 5-1 lead and a 7-6 victory in Game 2  (10 frames) after they came back after blowing a ninth-inning lead.
What can we take from what we saw last night?
–Although he loaded the bases that set the stage for Yuniesky Betancourt‘s game-tying grand slam in Game 1, Freddy Garcia did what he had to do in 6 2/3 innings.
–Bravo to Pena, who made his first start in years, and went seven strong innings in Game 2. Aside from a four-run fourth inning, he was stellar.
–He was the losing pitcher in Game 1, but No. 1 draft pick Chris Sale is a stud. He looked overpowering in his 1 2/3 innings of work. And it was Bobby Jenks who coughed up the winning run.
–Our bullpen has been awful. First it was Santos and Jenks in Game 1, then J.J. Putz blew his third consecutive save in the nightcap after striking out the first two after Scott Linebrink gave up a blast in the eighth. Miraculously, Putz shut the door in the bottom of the 10th.
–The Sox could have very well won Game 1 if Brent Lillibridge, running for Paul Konerko, hadn’t hesitated around second base in the 10th after Carlos Quentin’s gap double to right-center. It was inexcusable for him to be thrown out which would have been the lead run. Lilli needs to be a better fundamental player and avoid the brain freezes.
–In Game 2, Ramon Castro‘s two-run homer, Alex Rios‘s RBI single and Juan Pierre‘s clutch two-out double in the 10th to put the Sox ahead for good, saved the day.
The No. 1 takeaway is that for all of the problems the Sox have had in the past couple of weeks, they keep coming back. They could have packed it in after Game 1 and again after the Royals took the lead in Game 2, but they didn’t and kept fighting. Win or lose, that’s really the legacy of this team.
“To bounce back in the second game and play the way they did, what can be better than that,” Ozzie said in the wee small hours of the morning.
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                  Lillibridge’s blunder: The run that should have scored in Game 1



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This One Really Hurts

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All you have to do is look at their last two road games against the Twins, including last night’s heartbreak, to know that playing in Minnesota is still a nightmare for the White Sox. It happened at the Metrodome, it’s happening at Target Field and it probably would happen at a Little League field in suburban Wayzata.

You can also make a very good case that those two games represent the worst Sox defeats of the season thus far. And, eerily, both were 7-6 walkoff losses.
Before last night, that Sunday, July 18 disaster was the one that stung the most. The South Siders enjoyed a three-run lead going into the ninth only to see Bobby Jenks cough up four runs, blow the save and prevent the Sox from splitting their first series after the All-Star break.
For me, that loss was not as bad as last night. Down 4-0 in the first, the Sox battled back to tie the game at 4-4, tied it again at 5-5 on an Alexei Ramirez homer in the ninth and went ahead 6-5 in the top of the 10th. Then “Minnesota” happened. All-Star Matt Thornton gave up a leadoff single to Delmon Young and ex-Sox Jim Thome, he of the “should we keep him, should we let him go” controversy in the offseason, drilled a two-run homer to end the game. Try to get a good night’s sleep after that one.
If that scenario weren’t bad enough, the once strong White Sox bullpen is going through a significant meltdown. Jenks, who appears to be healthy enough to pitch tonight if needed, has not been reliable. J.J. Putz blew two saves over the weekend and now, for the third straight game, a Sox reliever can’t get the job done with a late-inning lead. A pen that once had three possible closers (four if you include Sergio Santos) now has no one they can really count on.
With 43 games to go, all is not lost. But two things trouble me: the fact that the Twins don’t seem to lose anymore, even without Justin Morneau, and the Sox are making a habit of losing close games late. Unless things turn around quickly, I’m afraid we’ll have plenty of time on our hands in October.
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It’s April and May Again on the South Side


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The White Sox rebound from a 5-1 deficit today to lead 7-5…J.J. Putz blows a save for the second day in a row as the Sox self-destruct in eighth and ninth innings to lose 13-8…Twins sweep the A’s and now lead the South Siders by three games in the A.L. Central…The three-game series between the Sox and Twinkies, which begins Tuesday night at Target Field, could pretty much put us in the rear-view mirror for good.
Sorry, I’m really cranky.

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Yet Another Excruciating One-Run Loss for Sox

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Headline:  Light-hitting Tigers catcher Alex Avila hit a one-out, two-run homer off of J.J. Putz (above) in the top of ninth inning tonight to power the Tigers to a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the White Sox.

Sub-headline:  Putz’s blown save wasted a superb performance by Edwin Jackson, who gave up only a run while striking out 11 in seven innings.
The Reality:  The Twins beat the A’s 2-0 and have now increased their A.L. Central lead to two games over the Sox. What makes matters worse is that the South Siders travel to Minny next week for three games against a team that has beaten them eight of 12 times so far this season. Oh yeah, we’ll be facing Scott Baker and Francisco Liriano, who both gave us fits at the Cell last week, plus Carl Pavano, who will be seeking his 16th win.

Bottom line? A bad loss, a really bad loss.

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                     Avila’s homer sails over Minnie and sinks Putz and the Sox


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Late White Sox Comeback Hands Mr. Baseball First Oriole Loss; Markakis is the New Mattingly

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BALTIMORE–The White Sox scored a run in each of the 7th, 8th and 9th innings tonight to come from behind for the 4-2 victory. It gave Buck “Mr. Baseball” Showalter his first loss as the Oriole skipper and it was also the first game in the last three that the temporarily resurgent O’s didn’t win on a walk-off.
Tonight’s heroes were July’s A.L. Pitcher of the Month Gavin Floyd, who won his eighth game with another superb performance; Carlos Quentin, who broke the ice for the Hose with a fourth inning solo blast;¬†Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz, who closed the door with an inning of scoreless relief apiece; and A.J. Pierzynski (double), Alex Rios (single) and Gordon Beckham (single), who drove in the Sox’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th runs in the last three frames, respectively. A.J.’s heroics may have been costly as he left the game with an apparent ankle injury after sliding hard into third. Let’s hope it’s not too serious.
Oh, that Markakis

Years ago, when the Yankees’ Don Mattinglywas battering American League pitchers, one of the Yankee announcers mentioned that he hit a little over .500 against the White Sox. My reaction was, when did he make the outs?

Having watched the Orioles’ Nick Markakis over the past few years, and the last two nights, in particular, I’m having Mattingly flashbacks.
For the record, he went 4 for 5 on last night and 1 for 3 ¬†with a walk tonight, but it seems like he’s on base every time up. There are certain guys who have killed the Sox over the years–Mattingly and Mike Sweeney for instance–and Markakis is certainly one of the them.
Bobby Who?

That’s right, Ozzie went to Putz tonight to close out the game. Frankly, it was a relief I didn’t have to sit in Section 44 at Camden Yards and chance another Bobby Jenks‘ meltdown. Now that the door is open and Putz breezed through the ninth, has Jenks lost his job? Stay tuned?
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The Pen Sparkles as Sox Top Mariners in Impressive Comeback Win

Credit Gordon Beckham, Alexei Ramirez and Paul Konerko for their clutch home run prowess and Alex Rios‘s clutch single which drove in the winning run in the seventh. But the real heroes in the 6-5 come-from-behind victory over Seattle tonight came out of the bullpen in a game that saw Mark Buehrle struggle in only five innings of work as he missed the opportunity to win No. 10.

A scoreless inning and a third from Sergio Santos
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A scoreless 2/3 of an inning from Matt Thornton, who was credited with the win…
A scoreless eighth inning from J.J. Putz
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And a scoreless, three strikeout save from Bobby Jenks

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And the Sox remain one game up on the Twins in the A.L. Central pennant race as they won their 10th straight victory at home and made it 17 of 18.
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Ozzie: “Our Options are Open Now” After Jenks’ Latest Meltdown in the 11-inning Loss to Seattle

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It wasn’t the colossal disaster that occurred last Sunday in Minnesota, which caused normally sane White Sox fans to consider taking a plunge off of the closest ledge, but Bobby Jenks‘ second meltdown in four days is a cause for great concern.
So great, in fact, that Ozzie is on record is saying that he’s now weighing his options for the closer role: “I get paid to win games. That’s my job, win games,” Guillen said after last night’s heartbreaking 2-1, 11-inning loss to the Mariners where Jenks blew a save. “And I’m going to put the guys there with the best shot.”
This kind of decision involving a pitcher who has been a key cog in the Sox success since joining the club in 2005, can’t be easy for Ozzie. That said, unlike most managers, he does have bullpen depth and legitimate options in former standout closer J.J. Putz, who just set a club record for consecutive scoreless appearances, and All-Star Matt Thornton. You might want to throw Sergio Santos into the mix as well.

The closer decision aside, I’m personally concerned for my health, the health of my Sox posse and Pale Hose fans in general if we have many more of these games. I can intellectualize that it’s a long season, that I need to avoid the peaks and valleys and there is always a chance for redemption the next day–something that happened to the Sox in the two games following Sunday’s debacle. But I’m human and don’t react very well to these losses.
On the bright side, I look at the standings and see we’re still in first place, 2 1/2 games ahead. A whole lot better than in April and May when I thought our season was over.
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