Tagged: Jesse Crain

The Pen Again

Yesterday’s blog featured a photo that included Monday night heroes A.J. Pierzynski, Alex Rios, Gordon Beckham and Sergio Santos celebrating after the game. Also in the photo was Brent Morel, who went 0 for 4 and committed what could have been a fatal fielding error if the Sox hadn’t rallied to win.

What a difference a day makes. Last night, Morel bounced back and was at the center of the offense as the Sox won their fifth in a row, 4-3. He drove in the Sox’s second run in the second inning with a single and homered in the fourth to widen the Pale Hose lead to 4-0.

While Morel’s bat, along with Carlos Quentin‘s 24th homer and Pierzynski’s RBI double, paced the attack, it was the shutdown bullpen that was most impressive as it held the O’s to only the three runs they scored off starter Gavin Floyd in the fifth. Granted, the pen hasn’t been perfect as evidenced by Jesse Crain surrendering the three-run homer to J.J. Hardy on Monday. But the talent and versatility that Ozzie has at his disposal gives the Sox an advantage over most of their opponents.

Here was last night’s scenario:

* Despite showing signs of tiring, Floyd  began the seventh. He gave up a double to Felix Pie, who moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Floyd then retired the red-hot J.J. Hardy on a grounder to third. Two outs, runner on third, Sox killer Nick Markakis at the plate. Ozzie makes the call to the pen and lefty Will Ohman ends the threat by striking out Markakis.

* Jason Frasor came on to start the eighth. He walked Adam Jones and struck out Vlad Guerrero. With the lefty Chris Davis coming up, Ozzie called on Chris Sale, who retired Davis on a popup and then struck out Mark Reynolds.

* Instead of calling on Santos to begin the ninth, the skipper chose to have Sale face switch-hitter Matt Wieters. He struck him out. With the Orioles opting to call on Josh Bell to pinch-hit for lefty Felix Pie against Sale, Ozzie decided to stay with his lefthander. Bell grounded out to shortstop. Two outs, nobody on.

*Making his final move, Ozzie then called on Santos to face righthanded hitter Robert Andino and  he proceeded to strike him out, the way he did with the three batters he faced the night before. For Santos, save number 24.

And at the risk of burying the lead, the Indians extra-inning win over the Tigers helped the Sox narrow the Detroit lead to four games. A win tonight and the Sox are back at the .500, something we doubted might happen again this season after last week’s four-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees.

A Day to Remember

White Sox 4, Twins 3.

That statement alone will turn some heads as the Sox defeated Minnesota this afternoon for the first time in 2011 after dropping nine in a row dating back to last year. It also broke a four-game Pale Hose losing streak on their current homestand.

In a game that was headed toward another Twinkie victory, a couple of clutch two-out hits (I’m not kidding) in the late innings turned the tide. In the eighth, Carlos Quentin delivered a single to tie the score at 3-3 and Alexei Ramirez, who homered in the first to give the Sox an early 1-0 lead, singled to center in the ninth. It scored A.J. Pierzynski from second for the game-winner.

Former Twin Jesse Crain got the win after pitching a perfect ninth. Starter Mark Buehrle authored another fine performance, but got the no-decision. All three Minny runs off of Buehrle were unearned.

Can the Sox make it two in a row and split the four-game series? Jake Peavy will try to do it tomorrow before the Sox head into the All-Star break.

Sox Note of Note: One negative on the day. Backup catcher Ramon Castro suffered a broken hand on a play in the eighth inning, setting the stage for Pierzynski to enter the game. No official announcement has been made, but it’s likely Tyler Flowers will be called up from AAA Charlotte to replace him.

The 12 Days of White Sox Christmas


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In the spirit of the season…

The First Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…1 great offseason, filling our stocking with a load of talent–and hope–for the upcoming season.
The Second Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…2 free agents with Sox World Series rings in Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski.
The Third Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…3 possible closers in Matt Thornton, Chris Sale and, if needed, newcomer Jesse Crain.

The Fourth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…at least 4 solid starters in Mark Buehrle, Edwin JacksonJohn Danks and Gavin Floyd. Make it five if Jake Peavy recovers from his injury and six if Sale is in the rotation.

The Fifth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…A solid No. 5 hitter from a talented group who, from what Ozzie has indicated, could very well be Alex Rios–hitting behind the powerhouse duo of Adam Dunn in the three hole and Paulie batting cleanup.

The Sixth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…The annual 6 games against the Cubs next season–three at home on May 20, 21, 22 and three at Wrigley Field on 
July 1, 2, 3.

The Seventh Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…a 7-game homestand leading up to the ’11 All-Star Game in Phoenix against the Royals and hated Twins as the Sox attempt to match last year’s first-place standing at the break.

The Eighth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…8 games against the 
Yankees in 2011–four in April (25, 26, 27, 28) at Yankee Stadium and four in August (1, 2, 3, 4) at the Cell.

The Ninth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…No. 9, Sox icon Minnie Minoso, who is still going strong after celebrating his 85th birthday last month.

The Tenth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…A 10-game opening homestand after starting the year with five games on the road in Cleveland and Kansas City. The Sox will face the Rays, A’s and Angels at the Cell from April 7-17.

The Eleventh Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…No. 11 on the back of Omar Vizquel‘s uniform, as the future Hall of Famer honors the great Luis Aparicio for the second straight year after an outstanding first season on the South Side.
The Twelfth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…All in all, a whole lot to look forward to as we head into 2011.
Happy Holidays!
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Jesse Crain: Another Nice Piece of the Puzzle

610x.jpgThe next time you hear somebody tell you the White Sox are cheap and not doing all they can to win, kindly tell them to shut up.

In what has turned out to be an enormously productive offseason, the Sox have accumulated the talent of Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski and now…Jesse Crain, who reportedly has signed a three-year contract.
Crain, you’ll recall, is the former (I like the way that word sounds) Twins reliever who gave the Pale Hose fits with a 1.45 ERA in 45 games lifetime against his new team. He is coming off of his best season with a 3.04 ERA and a .215 average against in 71 appearances as a seventh and eighth inning setup man.
So, not only does he add a critical piece to our bullpen, joining key cogs Matt Thornton, Sergio Santos, Tony Pena and maybe Chris Sale, it weakens the Twins, who have also lost Matt Guerrier to the Dodgers.
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