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.
After the scoreboard flashed the Twins’ five-run first inning in Cleveland and the Royals put a six spot on the board before the Sox came to bat at the Cell, it seemed like it was time to fly the white flag for the 2010 White Sox.
However, like they have so many times this season the South Siders showed amazing resiliency today and not only overcame the large deficit but in the end even doubled K.C.’s total with an impressive 12-6 triumph.
By the fourth inning the Sox had tied the score at 6-6, powered by a pair of two-run home runs by MVP candidate Paul Konerko. They finished the job with six runs in the sixth, highlighted by Andruw Jones‘ first career pinch-hit grand slam.
Paulie’s 3 for 4 day, with the two homers, five RBI and three runs scored, have given him these gaudy statistics through Sunday’s games: a .322 BA, 36 roundtrippers, 104 RBI and nearly a .400 on base percentage.
The Hose remain six games in back of Minnesota, who today finished off the Tribe, 6-2. It’s now showdown time starting Tuesday as the Sox and Twins meet in a three-game series in Chicago. It’s hard to imagine that we can sweep the Twinkies and even if we do, we’ll still be three games behind. But that’s why they play the games.
The battle of the Sox was won today by the White over the Red as the Pale Hose swept a day-night doubleheader at Fenway with identical 3-1 scores to move within 3 1/2 games of the Twins. The suddenly “on-fire” South Siders have now won the first five games of their 10-game road trip with the time-honored formula of outstanding pitching and timely hitting.
John Danks outdueled 15-game winner Clay Buchholz, Gordon Beckham delivered a key RBI double in the seventh inning, red-hot Paul Konerko collected three hits and Sergio Santos and Bobby Jenks preserved the win out of the bullpen in Game 1.
Gavin Floyd was the winner and John Lackey the loser in Game 2 with Scott Linebrink and Chris Sale excelling out of the pen before Jenks got the last four outs for his second save of the night. Offensively, Carlos Quentin smashed a double and a triple while scoring a pair of runs and Mark Teahen had a 2 for 4 night. Due to a pair of Bosox errors, which resulted in two unearned runs, backstop Ramon Castro had the only Chisox RBI with a sac fly.
The Manny Watch: In his return to Boston, Manny Ramirez went 2 for 4 in the first game and 1 for 4 in the second, all singles.
While there has been Manny talk all day, all night and all week, when the White Sox needed a boost this afternoon it was South Side mainstay Paul Konerko who had the last word. His eighth inning three-run homer overcame a subpar Sox performance and paced his teammates to a 6-4 comeback victory and a sweep of the depleted Indians in Cleveland.
Paulie, whose season has been nothing short of sensational, is now hitting .319 with 33 homers, 98 RBIs and an OPS of .986.
For most of the game the Sox were stymied by rookie Carlos Carrasco and their own defense, which committed three errors. But a home run by Alexei, not Manny, Ramirez in the eighth and Konerko’s clutch blast later in the inning made up for it. It also didn’t help that Freddy Garcia gave way to Tony Pena after four innings because of a strained lower back.
The game was also highlighted by Alex Rios‘ 20th homer of the season, which gave The Good Guys a 1-0 lead in the first inning, and Chris Sale‘s first save of his career. Manny reached base twice in his Sox debut. He singled and was hit by a pitch.
It’ll be a day off tomorrow, then three games in Boston against two tough customers–Clay Buchholz and John Lackey–on Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s Red Sox starter is TBA. We’ll counter with John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Mark Buehrle. One bit of good news for us is that Matt Thornton is expected to be ready for action after a stint on the DL.
Oh yeah, I might have buried the lead. Manny will be returning to the scene of the crime.
If the White Sox had any chance of beating C.C. Sabathia and the Yankeestonight, John Danks (above) needed to be on his game. Unfortunately for the South Siders he wasn’t, and the Sox found themselves on the losing end of a 12-9 decision. It also dropped them to 4 1/2 games behind the Twins, 1-0 winners over the Mariners this afternoon.
Giving up a trio of two-run home runs in the first three innings, Danks put the Hose in a hole in which they could never escape. Trailing 6-1, the Sox narrowed the margin to a single run on the strength of a Paul Konerko two-run homer in the third inning and a two-run Andruw Jones blast in the fourth, but Danks and Tony Pena opened the flood gates again in the fifth by combining to surrender a fatal four spot. The Yanks, who smashed a total of four homers, padded their lead with two more runs in the final four innings. The Good Guys, resilient to the end, threatened in the ninth and had the tying run at the plate, but it was just too little too late–especially when you’re facing Mariano Rivera.
It’ll be up to Gavin Floyd tomorrow afternoon on Frank Thomas Day to help get the Sox a series win before they head to Cleveland, Boston and Detroit.
Pale Hose Notes of Note: The Sox outhit the Yankees 16-14, but Chicago pitchers walked an unacceptable nine men–which really was responsible for turning the tide…Lucas Harrell, recently recalled from Charlotte, entered the game in the ninth after Carlos Torres loaded the bases with one out. He was impressive, striking out Derek Jeter and getting Nick Swisher to line out to Juan Pierre in left.
The time-honored adage goes something like this: Momentum in baseball is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher. And it proved to be true last night as the White Sox’s John Danks was at his best in stifling the Twins, 6-1.
So those who were talking about the pending Sox demise after the South Siders took that 12-6 shellacking Tuesday night are a bit calmer today. Amazing what a pitching gem can do
for the soul.
That said, it would be just as wrong to think the Pale Hose are now out of danger after the win. As pointed out above, it’s all about the next game. And while The Good Guys look to be in good hands tonight with the red-hot Gavin Floyd, they’ll be facing a formidable foe in Francisco Liriano. With the two teams now in a dead heat for the division lead, we’ll all be watching to see who emerges from this rubber game in sole possession of the top spot in the A.L. Central.
Sox nemesis Denard Span can only watch as Carlos Quentin’s second inning homer gives the Sox an early 2-0 lead in Wednesday night’s triumph.
It was over early last night. Carlos Quentin‘s three-run blast got the White Sox within two runs in the second inning, but the Twins never let up and went on to overwhelm the former first-place South Siders, 12-6, to take a one-game lead in the A.L. Central.
Sox backup catcher Ramon Castro, who was behind the plate last night, pretty much said it all with above quip. The usually steady Freddy Garcia gave up six runs, including three homers, in 2 1/3 innings and the relievers had no answer for the Minnesota bats either.
The Sox have hit some hard times since winning three of four from Detroit last week–losing three of four to the Orioles in Baltimore and starting the Twins series this way. It’s also troubling that The Good Guys have lost seven of the first 10 games to their rivals up north and are below .500 in the A.L. Central.
That said, these resilient Sox will be looking for a turnaround tonight behind John Danks. They’ve come back from adversity all season so this is no time to panic. All that’s needed is a win to get us back into first place.
BALTIMORE–I arrived here today with the hope that the White Sox would derail the Orioles from their three-game winning streak under new manager Buck “Mr. Baseball” Showalter.
Unfortunately, the streak hit four tonight as the O’s eeked out a 2-1, 10-inning victory over the South Siders. Aside from John Danks‘ outstanding seven-inning performance, GordonBeckham‘s homer and a Mark Kotsay triple which eventually went for naught, there wasn’t much to cheer about.
That said, a few hundred miles North and West in Cleveland, a walk-off homer by Matt LaPorta (below) in the bottom of the ninth powered the Tribe over the Twins, 7-6, after Minnesota scored a pair of runs in the top of the inning to tie the score. And in the process, it made the Hose loss much easier to take as our game and a half lead is still in tact.