Some may point to the fact that Jake Peavy was off of his game last night, giving up five runs, six hits, a pair of walks and a crucial two-out, two-RBI single to journeyman catcher Matt Treanor in six innings of work.
But the truth is that it was the offense that has to bear the bulk of responsibility for last night’s 5-3 loss to the Royals. It wasn’t about getting on base, but rather the season-long problem of clutch hitting. The Sox collected 13 hits and a pair of walks, but stranded 13 runners. The math is simple: if just three of those runners had crossed home plate, the loss would have been a victory.
As Ozzie said after the game, “We’re so unpredictable…We struggle with people on base, and like I preach, we have to get better than that. We need big hits…”
Paul Konerko again was the center of the offense, going 3 for 5 with a homer and two RBIs. And A.J. Pierzynski (3), Omar Vizquel (2), Juan Pierre (2) and Carlos Quentin (2) had multiple hit games, but only Quentin drove in a run. With Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez out of the lineup, Adam Dunn, Brent Lillibridge and Gordon Beckham went 0 for 13 with seven strikeouts.
Remember what Ozzie said: “We have to get better than that.”
For a while it looked like…well, it looked like the same movie we’ve seen a million times. Pitching that keeps us in the game and wasted opportunities by an underachieving offense.
But today, in the rubber game of the series vs. the Rockies, it was a different theme. It was, in short, a satisfying come-from-behind extra inning 6-4 victory. A far cry from the tough and controversial loss in the opener.
Down 4-1 heading into the seventh inning, the Sox scored one in the seventh, two in the eighth to tie the game and two in the 10th to take the lead. Sergio Santos pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save. He was preceded by starter Jake Peavy, who settled down after allowing a three-run, first inning homer to Troy Tulowitzki, and Will Ohman, Chris Sale and Jesse Crain, who each pitched a scoreless inning.
Two of the most maligned White Sox were today’s heroes. Juan Pierre went 3 for 5 with three RBI, including the single that bounced off the right field wall to score the fifth and sixth runs in the 10th. Gordon Beckham went 3 for 3 with a walk, homered and drove in a pair.
Sox are now 40-42 and remain four games in back of the division lead as they head into Wrigley tomorrow for a three-game series with you know who.
You have to give the Sox credit.
They found themselves facing the most unenviable of positions tonight after losing John Danks to an oblique strain after 1 2/3 innings. There they were needing to fill the remaining 7 1/3 innings a day after the entire bullpen was used in the 14-inning marathon defeat.
But survive they did as the combination of Brian Bruney (2 1/3), Jake Peavy (4) and Sergio Santos (1) had Danks’ back and shut out the red-hot Nationals, 3-0. Peavy improved his record to 4-1, allowing just one hit and striking out seven For the record, it was his first major league relief appearance.
The run the Sox scored in the first on a Carlos Quentin sac fly was all the South Siders needed. But they tallied two insurance runs in the eighth on a Ramon Castro single to breathe a little easier.
The Sox were unsure of Danks’ status following the game. He will very likely have to go on the DL, in which case a reliever will be added with the club going with the conventional five-man rotation.
The White Sox go for their 18th consecutive interleague series win tomorrow with Phil Humber on the mound.
Peavy will do what it takes
There is no “i” in team and apparently no “i” in Jake Peavy. Before last night’s postponement, the Sox injury-plagued righthander said the following about his pending return from the DL:
“We’re sitting here talking about me coming back, and I’m telling Don Cooper and these guys, ‘I’ll do whatever needs to be done.'” If I need to go to the bullpen and help out there, we have five starters doing their thing. I certainly think I can be a leader in the rotation as well and be as good as these guys have been. But I’ll do whatever it takes because there is no weak link right now on this team. We’re swinging the bat offensively. We’re starting to catch the ball and play fundamentally a lot better than we did early in the year.”
What do KW and Ozzie think? Word is that they think it’s too early to make the call.
You knew someone would bring it up and who better than Ozzie?
After all those years playing in what was a house of horrors for the White Sox, the skipper put it all in perspective:
“Where’s the Metrodome when you need it?” Ozzie, of course was referring to the fact that last night’s game wouldn’t have been called if the Twins still played indoors.
Finally, something positive for the Sox to say about the Twinkiedome.
Here and there…
No makeup date has been determined for the rainout…Gavin Floyd and Carl Pavano will still be the starters…Jesse Crain, an important Twins contributor for several years, is making his first trip back to his former baseball home since joining the Sox…Ozzie on Brent Lillibridge: “Can he show us he can play every day? Well, that would be nice. If you can produce very day, I’ll get you the shot. But, right now, we have to wait and see”…KW on Dayan Viciedo: “It would be awfully interesting to have him in this lineup. He’s ready. He’s obviously got some things he still needs to work on, but I would have no qualms about bringing him here.”
I have to admit, I didn’t see it coming. I was just hoping Jake Peavy, in only his second start of the season, could pitch well enough for the Sox to stay in the game against Indians ace Justin Masterton.
Stay in the game? He was the game.
Peavy was dominating last night. He pitched a complete game, three-hit shutout against a potent Tribe offense and made a first-inning Adam Dunn sacrifice fly hold up in the 1-0 victory.
It’s hard to say how much impact this will have on the Sox, now six games under .500 and nine games behind Cleveland. It’s one thing for Peavy to hurl this gem, it’s another for him to stay healthy and become the club stopper. And then there are the myriad other issues.
There’s the inconsistency from the rest of the staff–for example, the winless John Danks, the maddening inconsistency of Edwin Jackson and the up and down mound personality of Gavin Floyd. Will Alex Rios, Gordon Beckham and Juan Pierre turn things around and will Dunn match his power numbers from recent years? And though the bullpen seems to be shaping up with Sergio Santos as the closer, I’m still nervous when I see Matt Thornton warming up in the bullpen.
I don’t want to diminish Peavy’s spectacular effort, it was a sight to behold. But the truth is that there are still many questions that need to be answered.